In 2020, approximately 3,142 people lost their lives due to distracted driving accidents in the U.S., reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 324,652 people were injured in the process. Based on these figures, it’s easy to see the wide-reaching and often grave consequences of distracted driving.
Hale Law talks about physical vs mental distractions to help drivers understand the dangers of both. Consider popping over to their site to get their expert opinion.
While it’s common knowledge that distracted driving can ruin lives – yours and other people’s – it can be challenging to avoid. Hopefully, the tips below can help you stay safe while on the road.
1. Keep Your Phone Out of Reach
We get it – the urge to answer a ringing phone, read a text, or check into your favorite app can be hard to resist. Consider keeping your phone out of reach. While at it, turn the volume down, so you won’t hear it going off. That way, you won’t be tempted to pick it up.
You can even switch on the “do not disturb” setting and store it in a glove compartment or bag. The goal is to help you focus on driving. If you need to pick up or make a call, pull over at a safe spot before handling your business. Otherwise, it can wait.
2. Plan Your Trips Carefully
Try to plan your trips if possible. Map out where you’re going and how you’ll get there. That way, you don’t have to worry too much about the GPS or road signs while driving. Besides, your plan can help you save time, which can help you avoid feeling rushed.
Let’s say you have an important meeting to attend. Plan to leave earlier than necessary so you don’t have to stress about running late and driving recklessly. Otherwise, you could get involved in an accident, and before you know it, you’re facing legal action or worse.
3. Eat Before Hitting the Road
Imagine juggling a latte or greasy burger in one hand and the wheel in another. Not a good idea. Eating behind the wheel can be a significant distraction – avoid it while driving at all costs. Even if it seems like a quick trip, eat before getting in the car. If you have to, use your breaks to grab a bite.
Ah, but what about snacks? Well, if they require you to fumble with wrappers or cans, it’s not worth the risk. Instead, reach for snacks that don’t require you to take your eyes off the road. Even so, your belly can wait.
4. Be Vigilant About Passengers
If you’re bringing others along for the ride, ensure their behavior is manageable. This may imply avoiding loud conversations that could shift your focus off the road.
It’s hard to be mindful when too many things are going on in your car. For instance, young kids may need to be disciplined sometimes, but try not to do it while driving. Instead, pull over first before having a chat. Raising your voice or getting angry can be distracting, so keep your poise.
The same goes for passengers trying to help by giving directions or pointing out landmarks. This can interfere with your driving – it’s a sure way to end up in a tricky situation, one you might need legal assistance to overcome.
5. Fiddle with the Settings Before Driving
Ensure you’re ready for the trip before you start driving. That means fiddling with the stereo system and air conditioner settings beforehand. Also, adjust your seat, mirrors, and other accessories before hitting the road. In so doing, you won’t have to divert your attention while driving. Don’t adjust the car’s settings during your commute.
For instance, while switching the frequency on your radio to your favorite station, you could miss a turn or a red light. And the consequences can be disastrous. So, get everything sorted out before you start driving.
6. Don’t Reach for Dropped Items
Sure, you might be lucky enough to catch a dropped item without an accident. But even if you do, your attention is still diverted away from the road. And usually, your reflexes are less sharp when you’re busy trying to pick something up – it can take a few seconds for your mind to refocus on the road.
As such, avoid risking your life by trying to snatch a dropped item. It’s not worth it. instead, pull over in a safe area and proceed to pick it up.
If you get involved in an accident due to distracted driving, don’t panic. Get in touch with a lawyer to assess your situation and advise you accordingly. They can also investigate the case and determine the party at fault.
At the end of the day, you can avoid distracted driving by adhering to the guidelines above. And should you need help to prove your innocence in court, a lawyer can provide you with the advice and legal representation you need. In so doing, you can steer clear of potential legal consequences and emotional distress, not to mention the risk of becoming a statistic.