It’s a fact that most serious accidents on our roads are preventable. There is a good reason we have traffic laws and safety guidelines for vehicles, but human and mechanical error can lead to dangerous and catastrophic crashes.
Keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road may seem like common sense, but failure to do either has become one of the leading causes of car crashes in the past several years. In fact, distracted driving has become so prevalent that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has called the problem an epidemic.
How Big of a Problem is Distracted Driving?
In 2015 alone, distracted driving in the U.S. claimed the lives of 3,477 people and injured another 391,000. While most distracted drivers are teens and young adults, anyone can fall victim to the temptation of various distractions. What are some of the things we do other than pay attention to the road? Just a few of the most common driving distractions include:
- Using handheld cell phones
- Using hands-free cell phones
- Messing with radios and GPS systems
- Typing on laptops
- Putting on make-up
- Speaking to other passengers
- Rubbernecking or sightseeing
Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving
When you aren’t fully engaged in the act of driving, you are putting both yourself and others at risk. You not only need to have your eyes on the road at all times and your hands on the wheel, but your mind must also be on the task at hand.
Too many of us don’t appreciate the responsibility involved in getting behind the wheel of a car. Your safety, that of your passengers, and others on the road is at stake if you make even the slightest error in judgment. By putting all of your attention into the task at hand, you have the best chance making it to your destination as safely as possible. Here are eight ways that you can avoid distractions while driving.
- Turn off your cell phone. The most common cause of distracted driving accidents is people texting while driving. Other causes are looking at social media and speaking on the phone. If you can’t turn off your cell phone in the car, put it on silent, or just put it away.
- Groom at home. If you have to put on makeup and shave in the car, you might want to give yourself some more time at home in the morning. Not only are you making a mess in your car, but you are also not paying attention to the task of driving, which is dangerous.
- Let your passengers help. Ask your passengers for help to avoid distractions while driving. Let them respond to an important text, change the radio station, or enter some GPS coordinates.
- Avoid stress. Wouldn’t we all like to live a stress-free life? Of course we would, but this is especially important in the car. Avoid heavy conversations while driving and ask young children to keep the play reasonable.
- Harness the pets. We all love our pets, and some of them get excited for car trips. Furry friends roaming inside a vehicle can be a major distraction when you are trying to drive. Instead, put a safety belt on your pet or keep them in a carrier for the ride.
- Skip the drive-through. Eating and driving might save you some time, but it’s distracting. It’s even more distracting when you spill coffee down your shirt or have to dig for a wayward french fry on the freeway. If you must pick up food, let it wait until you reach your destination.
- Map out your route in advance. It’s nearly impossible and incredibly dangerous to stare at a map while you’re driving. Do what you can to visualize your route or enter your GPS coordinates before you get moving.
- Stop rubbernecking. We get it. Accidents and people being pulled over by the police are interesting. They are also distractions that could cause you to create your own scene. In the interest of safety, keep your eyes on the road ahead and wait to look up the details of the incident online when you get home.
When Distracted Driving Accidents Happen
Even with all the precautions in place, accidents still happen. You might be 100% engaged while another driver is distracted, causing a serious crash. If you’ve been injured in a distracted driving accident in Connecticut, The APEX Law Firm, LLC understands your hurt and frustration. Contact us today at (860) 900-0900 or online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.