Driving is a responsibility that demands our full attention at all times. Unfortunately, too many drivers underestimate the risks associated with being distracted while behind the wheel.
In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that around nine people lose their lives each day in the U.S. due to distracted driving. These types of accidents are preventable and can remind us to practice good driving habits, such as avoiding distractions. As drivers, it's our duty to focus on the road. It may seem like a small effort, but it could make a significant difference in reducing the number of fatal accidents.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are three types of distracted driving that put everyone on the road at risk. They include:
- Visual: This happens when you take your eyes off the road. This type of distracted driving can happen when you're looking at your phone, changing the radio station, or even admiring the scenery outside your window.
- Manual: This happens when you take your hands off the steering wheel. Eating, drinking, and adjusting your mirrors are common examples of manual distractions.
- Cognitive: Cognitive distraction occurs when you take your mind off driving. Daydreaming, talking to passengers, and using hands-free devices can all lead to cognitive distractions.
Each type of distraction is dangerous on its own, but when combined, they can be deadly. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving resulted in 3,522 deaths in 2021. Therefore, it is extremely important to be aware of these types of distractions so that you can avoid them and keep yourself, and others, safe on the road.
5 Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
1. Make Adjustments Before Driving
Driving can be a stressful experience, especially if you're not prepared. One key to enjoying the ride is to make adjustments before you get going.
Examples of making adjustments before driving include:
- Setting your GPS
- Adjusting seats and mirrors
- Checking the weather
- Adjusting sound systems and air settings
- Securing children and pets
Not only will this ensure a more comfortable and enjoyable ride, but it can also enhance safety by reducing distractions while driving. Before departing, it's also important to decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time. This can help you avoid unexpected delays and make the most out of your drive. So, whether you're heading out on a road trip or just a quick trip across town, taking a few minutes to prepare beforehand can make all the difference.
2. Avoid Using Your Cellphone
As society becomes more and more dependent on technology, it can be hard not to feel the urge to reach for our phones at every opportunity. However, when driving, these distractions can be deadly. One effective tactic to avoid this is to power off your mobile devices until you've arrived at your destination.
However, if you need your phone for GPS, then turning on "do not disturb" can also be an effective method to avoid any incoming calls or texts that could be distracting while driving.
3. Be Careful While Snacking
As much as possible, it is highly recommended to consume your meals or snacks before or after your trip, rather than eating while driving. This is to avoid any possible distraction or inconvenience that can take your attention off the road. If you choose to eat while driving, choosing simple and non-messy food that you can easily manage with one hand while driving is ideal.
If you really need to eat while on the road, it is always better to pull over in a safe parking spot before continuing your trip. This way, you can safely eat and arrive at your destination without accidents caused by eating while driving.
4. Improve Your Time Management
Getting ready before heading out for work or errands can sometimes be done in a hurry. However, many of us fail to realize that by not giving ourselves enough time, we put ourselves and others on the road in danger.
5. Pull Off When Needed
With the increasing number of distractions available during a drive, it's essential to understand that no activity is worth risking a life for. Whether it's a phone call, texting, applying makeup, or typing into your GPS, it's vital to pull off the road and stop in a designated safe area before attempting any unrelated activity. Doing so will not only protect the driver but also safeguard other drivers on the road. It's important to remember that our actions not only affect us but those around us as well. By taking the necessary precautions and focusing solely on driving, we can help ensure safer roads for everyone.
Despite your best efforts to pay attention while driving, others may not do the same. Distracted driving could be construed as negligence. If you were the victim of a car accident and have suffered injuries, contact our personal injury lawyers at Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C.
With over 20 years of experience, our team can help you get the maximum amount of compensation you deserve. This can include recouping costs associated with medical bills, time off work, car repairs, and more.
Call today at (603) 288-1403 or reach out to us online!