It’s easy to get distracted from time to time while behind the wheel. However, habitual distracted driving, such as taking phone calls, text messaging, or eating while on the road, should be avoided because of the risks that come with it. Distracted driving can happen to anyone, but it appears to be particularly concerning among younger age demographics. According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than one-quarter of distracted drivers involved in fatal crashes are people in their 20s.
Driving Requires Your Full Attention
Multi-tasking is not something that should be done while on the road. Driving is a task that requires strict concentration and depends on quick reflexes, so taking a hand off the wheel to eat a sandwich on the way to the office or send a text message to a friend can lead to slowed reaction times and broken concentration, making a preventable traffic accident more likely to occur.
Distracted Driving Can Have Deadly Consequences
A study published in the January 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that the likelihood of crashing or nearly crashing a vehicle was significantly increased when the driver of the vehicle was distracted.
Here are a few tips for keeping distraction at bay while driving:
- Stay away from electronics while in the car. Take care of any phone calls, emails or text messages before starting to drive. Avoid the temptation to use hands-free devices while driving, as these can be just as distracting as using a handheld device while operating a vehicle.
- Find other options to respond. If your job requires that you be “on call” with regard to email, but you need to drive somewhere, consider using an auto-responder for your work email before leaving the house. Include a message indicating that you are on the road and will answer emails at your next earliest convenience rather than trying to address emails while on the road.
- Avoid eating while driving. If you need to eat while on the go, pull over to a safe place and eat while parked rather than trying to snack and steer simultaneously.
- Don’t make adjustments to mirrors and seats while on the roadways. Set your mirrors, seat, and radio dial before taking the vehicle out of “park.” If you notice something that requires adjustment while you are driving, pull over and address the issue while parked.
- Assure that passengers and pets are safe and secure. Before leaving the driveway, make sure any passengers and/or pets in the car are safe and will not need attention on the road. If a pet, child, or other passenger emergently requires attention while you are on the road, pull over to attend to them rather than trying to reach or glance back while driving.
When to Contact an Attorney
If you are injured in a car accident where distracted driving was a factor, you may wish to explore your legal options. The attorneys at Hancock Injury Attorneys have the experience and knowledge to help you to determine your rights under the law. Contact us online, or call 813-534-6319 to speak with a legal professional today.