Nearly all of us are guilty of distracted driving because we typically believe that we are highly skilled and invincible, even if we are juggling sushi and cellphones behind the wheel. Distracted drivers are everywhere, and it is becoming more challenging to prevent crashes.
It is essential to have a serious driving safety approach to address this problem. Here is how you can stop distracted driving to prevent getting into an accident and paying hefty fees for damages.
Why Prevent Distracted Driving?
Nearly 9 people get killed in a road accident each day, and almost a thousand injuries happen because of a distracted driver. The worst part about distracted driving is that it is entirely preventable if people take precautions.
These accidents occur and change a person’s life because of carelessness. Distracted driving takes on several forms and can be anything from taking your attention, hands, or eyes off the road.
Stop Texting and Driving
Texting can take a person’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds if they are traveling at over fifty miles per hour. During this time, they can easily drive across an entire football field while checking to see what their friend texted back. A person who texts and drive is almost blindfolded, since they are not glancing at the road at all.
Nearly one in four accidents happen because of a cell phone and distracted driver. Reaching for your phone itself can significantly increase your risk of getting into an accident.
These are valuable seconds when your eyes should always be on the road. Even if you are always the most careful driver, you do not know how skilled other drivers are and should always be on guard and ready for anything.
Driving with your phone is almost as bad as getting behind the wheel when you are drunk. Texting is extremely distracting, and you will never have enough attention on the road if you are scrolling through your phone every few seconds while changing lanes.
If an accident does occur, you should always seek legal help. Kemp, Ruge & Green has practice areas in personal injury claims and car accidents.
Limit GPS or Maps
GPS or reading maps to follow directions can be just as distracting as texting. You should always have a friend in the passenger seat to help you with the GPS or turn up the volume to hear voice commands.
This way, you will not always be distracted by staring at the screen. Always keep your eyes, thoughts, and hands on the wheel when you are in control. It is better to get lost by taking a wrong turn than being involved in a car accident.
Talk Less While Driving
If you need to have a chat with others, it is best to have a hands-free device in the car. That way, you can have a conversation without needing to take your hands off the wheel or eyes away from the road. However, talking can still be distracting because your mind is elsewhere.
Avoid having an hour-long conversation. Your hands-free device should only be for emergency calls. Otherwise, explain to the person on the other end that you are driving and will call them back after you reach your destination safely.
Avoid Adjusting Music
Changing radio stations or trying to find the perfect road trip song on your Spotify can be a fatal distraction. Imagine how many seconds it takes to go through a list of songs to choose the perfect one to fit the sunset backdrop, only to be involved in a loud crash.
If you must listen to music while driving, pick one radio station or playlist and stick to it. Avoid changing music too frequently because then you will be distracted on the road.
Never Consume Content
Even if you are stuck in traffic that is barely moving at all, you should never pull out your phone or tablet to start reading an eBook or watch a YouTube video.
These will distract you completely, and you may end up accidentally moving too close to the cars in front or behind you and crashing into them. There is no such thing as “standstill traffic.” You will consistently need to move an inch bit by bit, and it is better to always remain focused when you need to push the gas.
Carefully Care for Little Ones
Most parents have children and pets in the backseat. This can be extremely distracting and dangerous if you are not careful. Your children should always be strapped in their car seats. Your pets should also be buckled, so that there is little movement behind to distract you from driving.
Pull Over to Look for Things
If you have accidentally dropped your phone or house keys under your seat while driving, do not reach for it. Wait until you pull over to the side of the road, and then step outside the car.
This way, you will not be distracted, putting other people’s lives at risk. You can also find your items a lot sooner when you can step outside the car and look for them properly by adjusting the seat instead of rummaging underneath while driving and trying not to swerve.
Save Grooming for Later
When running late for a meeting, keep in mind that there are bathrooms in most workplaces to do your hair and makeup instead of combing while driving.
Besides eating and smoking, grooming is another major distraction because it requires your eyes, attention, and hands all over the place except safely on the wheel.
You may also alter your mirrors to examine your appearance instead of watching other drivers. This can be dangerous because you never know who is in your next to you while switching lanes or if you are too close to the curb.
Always Drive Safely
Distracted driving is dangerous because you cannot devote your full attention to protect yourself and your loved ones on the road. If you have another activity that demands your time and focus, you should complete that before getting behind the wheel.
During an emergency, always pull your vehicle to the side in a safe place, especially if you need to reply to a text. If you enjoyed reading these safety tips, check out some of our other posts for more information.