Distracted driving is becoming a bigger problem on the road than ever before. It is not only texting and phone calls that divert drivers from their task. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2013, about 20 percent of all motor vehicle accidents were due to distracted driving.
There are three types of distractions in the car:
- Manual - taking your hands off the wheel
- Visual - taking your eyes off the road
- Cognitive - taking your mind off your driving
When you text or make a phone call, you are not only taking your eyes off the road but using your hands and not paying attention to the conditions on the road, thus combining all three types of distractions. Even though it may only seem like a moment, when you are traveling at 60 miles per hour, you can drive the length of a football field in those few seconds.
Take time to avoid distractions on the road
To keep your passengers and yourself safe, take a few minutes before you drive to put yourself in a good frame of mind when you're driving. Here are some tips on how you can avoid getting distracted when you are behind the wheel:
- Program your GPS before you drive.
- Turn off your cell phone or put it in the glovebox when you are driving. At the very least, turn off notifications.
- Do not eat or drink while operating a vehicle.
- Pull off the road if you have to deal with your rowdy children.
- Make sure your pets are properly restrained.
- Don't have a heated or serious discussion when you are in control of the car.
Who is at risk?
The CDC reports that drivers under the age of 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. Many states have enacted laws which make texting and driving illegal, but not all drivers adhere to the law. Parents need to talk to their teenagers about distracted driving before they get in the car. Modeling good behavior while driving is another way to reduce the risk of an accident. You might also consider signing younger drivers up for defensive driving classes, which go beyond just learning to drive.
If you have been in an accident that involved distracted driving, you should talk an experienced personal injury attorney about your case. You deserve to be compensated for your injuries and damage to your vehicle. Stay safe and keep your eyes on the road.