In 2014 alone, more than 3,000 people were killed and 431,000 injured as a result of distracted driving accidents. Today, distracted driving remains among the most common causes of motor vehicle accidents—and the numbers only seem to be increasing.
By understanding the potential risks and effects of distracted driving, along with following tips to stay focused behind the wheel, you can do your part to make the roads safer. And with April being National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, what better time to address this topic?
Common Causes of Distracted Driving
Cell phone use is by far the most common type of distracted driving, with an average of 660,000 drivers using their phones while driving at any given moment in the United States. This includes not just talking on the phone, but texting, browsing social media or even using a phone’s navigation system unsafely.
Another common cause of distracted driving is that of eating or drinking while driving. All it takes is one short moment of taking one’s eyes off the road to cause an accident or traffic hazard. The same goes for holding conversations with passengers in the vehicle, reading, or grooming (such as applying makeup) while driving.
And believe it or not, distracted driving doesn’t necessarily mean taking your eyes off the road. Listening to loud music can also be a dangerous distraction, especially when it keeps you from being able to hear approaching emergency vehicles with their sirens on. This type of distracted driving can lead to some devastating accidents.
Staying Focused Behind the Wheel
The good news is that there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your distractions while driving and stay more focused on the road in front of you. For starters, you should never use cell phones while driving unless in an emergency situation. For those who may be tempted to use their phones, it’s a good idea to put them on silent or turn them off while behind the wheel. Another option would be to place the phone out-of-reach, such as in a glove box.
Drivers should also take measures to reduce distractions from other passengers in the vehicle. This includes knowing when to take control and ask passengers to quiet or calm down. And of course, when it comes to other distracted driving habits like eating, drinking, and applying makeup while driving—simply don’t do it.
Overall, complacency is the biggest risk for drivers on the road. All it takes is getting too comfortable behind the wheel to become distracted and cause a potentially fatal accident.
If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of a distracted driver, make sure you seek legal advice from an experienced professional. Ginnis & Krathen, P.A. have years of experience in handling auto accident cases, so contact them today to set up your free legal case evaluation.