For most of us, driving can be a leisure activity. Maybe not that sitting-in-traffic daily commute, but lovely weekend drives to admire local scenery, or just to get the car out on the open road in some nice weather. However, a pleasure drive can turn downright dangerous when confronted with hazards like distracted drivers, which is why we always need to remain vigilant behind the wheel.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we've put together some facts and tips about distracted driving to give you some knowledge about the issue and avoid falling into the distracted driving trap yourself.
Facts about distracted driving
Our cell phones mostly feel like an extension of ourselves, which might make us forget that they can take our attention away from the road. For example, driving and talking on the phone gives you the same level of impairment as driving while intoxicated (a BAC of 0.08%). And sending or reading a text is the same as driving the length of a football field at 55 mph blindfolded. And texting behind the wheel increases the risk of having a car accident or near-crashing by 23 times. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent="yes" overflow="visible"][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type="1_1" background_position="left top" background_color="" border_size="" border_color="" border_style="solid" spacing="yes" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" padding="" margin_top="0px" margin_bottom="0px" class="" id="" animation_type="" animation_speed="0.3" animation_direction="left" hide_on_mobile="no" center_content="no" min_height="none"][EndDD.org]
However, using your phone while driving isn't the only form of distracted driving. Anything that takes your mind off the task at hand—your eyes off the road or your hands off the steering wheel—is considered distracted driving. This could include grooming, eating, adjusting a GPS or mapping app, changing your music, or talking to passengers. They might not seem like activities that distract you from driving because they're so common and we don't think twice about doing them. However, they're in fact quite dangerous. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and an additional 391,000 were injured in auto accidents involving distracted drivers.
Typical driving distractions
All kinds of distracted driving are dangerous, but it's evident from this list that technology is playing a bigger and bigger role in car accidents.
- Phone calls: Making or taking calls distracts you from what you should be doing—paying attention to your driving. Even using hands-free technology still takes your mind off the road.
- Using social media: As crazy as it might seem, some people update or check social media behind the wheel. We shouldn't have to say that nothing is that important. It can wait.
- Texting: Texting while driving is extremely dangerous and takes your eyes and hands off the road. Even voice-to-text applications can be distracting.
- Music: Many drivers also flip through songs on their phones or iPods, or fiddle around with the stereo system, while driving.
- Eating and drinking: Consuming food or beverages while driving takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and distracts your mind from the task at hand.
- Drowsy driving: Driving while fatigued is as dangerous as driving drunk, and affects your cognitive function and ability to focus.
- Rubbernecking: Slowing down to look at an accident doesn't just cause traffic slowdowns. It also takes your eyes off the road and raises the risk of causing another accident.
- Grooming: If your eyes are looking in the mirror while you're applying makeup or grooming, they're not on the road where they should be.
Avoiding distracted driving
How can you avoid driving while distracted? Just remember a few things and incorporate them into your driving habits. If you absolutely must talk on the phone, use a hands-free device. Avoid texting and driving. Program your GPS before you start driving—even if you think you won't need it. You never know when you might get re-routed. Set your music playlist beforehand, too. Don't let yourself get distracted by your pets or passengers.
Simply put? Stay alert behind the wheel.
Suffering injury in a car accident can be an overwhelming experience, coupled with a long healing process. If you need aggressive representation from a trusted team of car accident attorneys, look to Crandall & Pera Law. Please call our Ohio office at 877-686-8879, or in Kentucky at 877-651-7764. You can also fill out our contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation.