Taking a selfie. Unwrapping and eating a burrito. Trying to find the right song to play. Looking at Facebook really quickly. Grabbing lip gloss from your purse. Mopping up spilled coffee.
What do these things all have in common? They are all examples of distracted driving. Each one of these actions takes critical attention away from the road and driving safely.
Sadly, data shows that distracted driving is not only dangerous but is also deadly, claiming more than 3,000 lives each year (Source: NHTSA). This means that 8 people are killed every day in the U.S. as the result of a distracted driver. Data also shows that as many as 400,000 people are injured every year from distracted driving accidents.
What Is Considered Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving covers anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the act of driving. All the examples listed above are considered distracted driving. There are three types of distraction: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction includes taking your eyes off the road (looking at a phone, watching a video, staring at navigation, etc). Manual distraction is when the driver takes his or her hands off the wheel (sending a text, reaching for a tissue, grabbing for something from the backseat, etc.). Cognitive distraction is when a driver takes his or her mind off driving (having a phone conversation, searching for a particular song, entering a destination in the navigation, etc.).
How to Avoid Distractions While Driving
As car accident attorneys, we see the consequences of distracted driving every day. It doesn’t have to be this way. Below we share tips to avoid distracted driving.
Before you get in the car, ensure that you have everything you need to get where you are going. If you need to navigate to your destination, familiarize yourself with the route before you get in the car. Make sure all your personal belongings are secure and won’t roll around, spill, or fall on the floor while driving. Answer any texts or place any necessary calls before getting into your vehicle.
Do a Pre-Driving Check
We’ve seen too many accidents caused by people waiting to handle a task until they were in the car and driving. As car accident lawyers, we believe this temptation can easily be avoided by doing a quick pre-driving check. Once you’ve secured your personal belongings, and gotten any other passengers situated, do a quick run-down. Do you know how to get where you are going? If needed, do you have the directions already entered in your navigation? Is the lid on any drink secured and not leaking? If you are going to listen to music, is already set and able to run for the length of your ride? If you are going to need anything, like a tissue or toll change, make sure it’s reachable without taking your eyes off the road.
Absolutely avoid multi-tasking while driving. Don’t schedule an important phone call while you are going to be driving. Don’t plan on looking up directions when you are a few blocks out from your destination. Never plan to apply makeup while driving – you only need to speak to a personal injury attorney to find out how many injuries to the eye and face drivers receive when applying makeup while driving.
Put simply, don’t plan on doing anything other than driving when you get behind the wheel.
Almost all new cars, even most new economy cars, are equipped with basic blue-tooth capabilities for hands-free access to technology. In fact, most car dealers help you enable the blue-tooth settings on a new car before you drive it off the lot. If you haven’t enabled the hands-free settings for your smartphone, as car accident attorneys we suggest you set it up before your next drive. This isn’t just a friendly suggestion; it’s required by law. Most states, including Nevada, have legislation that restricts any use of a smartphone while driving that isn’t hands-free.
Set Up Blocking Apps
We understand that the temptation to be distracted while driving is high. We also understand that in many cases, the distraction isn’t something you are conscious of. If you find yourself being distracted while driving, a great way to protect yourself (and your passengers or teen drivers) is by enabling blocking apps that restrict apps while the car is in motion. The apps often go so far as to silence any alerts and won’t allow the screen to be used unless the car is stopped.
Distracted driving has been shown to increase the chances of a car accident. As car wreck lawyers, we want to reduce the number of accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by distracted drivers. If you have been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact our team today.