It’s no secret that driving distracted is dangerous. In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 9 people are killed and over 1,000 people are injured in accidents involving distracted drivers every single day. The good news is that you have the power to be part of the solution.
What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the act of driving. Because of Oregon’s 2018 cell phone law, many people understand the dangers and consequences of using your cell phone while driving. But using a cell phone is only one of the many ways people drive distracted.
Examples of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can stem from any number of activities, including eating a sandwich, applying makeup, playing DJ, scolding children, holding pets, looking at a map, having a heated conversation, reaching for your purse, texting, or anything that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off driving.
Why is Distracted Driving Dangerous?
Distracted driving puts you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk by diverting your attention away from the act of driving. Especially when you’re driving at high speeds, even looking away from the road for five seconds can be deadly. In fact, when you’re driving 55 miles per hour, you can travel the length of a football field in just five seconds, which means you have plenty of time and space to miss changing road conditions, pedestrians entering the roadway, sudden stops, cars changing lanes, etc.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving?
While there are distracted driving laws and fines in place to prevent distracted driving, there’s plenty we can do to help prevent ourselves and others from driving distracted. If you’re looking for ways to prevent distracted driving, start with these helpful tips.
Turn Your Phone on Do Not Disturb
The best way to avoid the temptation to use your phone while driving is to turn your phone on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode. That way, you won’t be alerted if anyone calls or texts, which will prevent you from glancing at your phone. Some phones even have a designated Do Not Disturb While Driving setting to automatically help you stay focused on the road.
Make a Playlist
Especially for young drivers, it can be tempting to browse through music and play DJ while driving. Instead, try making different playlists for different moods, which you can turn on and play through without having to scroll on your screen.
Keep Distractions Out of Reach
Have a tendency to reach over to the passenger seat to eat some fries on your way home with dinner? Tempted to reapply lipstick or look over presentation notes on your way into work? Try putting distractions like fast food fries, important work documents, or your makeup bag out of reach.
Keep Pets Away from the Driver’s Seat
Whether you’re taking your pet to the vet or just heading to the dog park, it’s always smart to keep pets away from the driver’s seat. Not only can they distract you from the road, but if they crawl down by the pedals, they could prevent you from being able to hit the brakes.
Look at Your Route Before You Leave
GPS systems have completely revolutionized the way we travel from place to place, but it’s important to enter in the address before you start driving. We recommend previewing the different steps on the route as well, that way, you’re relying less on the visual representation and more on the road.
Don’t Contact Others When You Know They’re Driving
If you know a friend or family member is on the road, avoid contacting them until they’re safely at their destination. This removes the temptation and could help save their lives.
If you’re riding in the car with someone who’s texting and driving, don’t be afraid to speak up. Tell them you’re not comfortable riding in a car with someone who isn’t focused on driving, and while you’d be happy to text for them from the passenger seat, if they’re going to continue to drive distracted, you’ll find another ride.
Remember, you have the power to help decrease distracted driving, which can help save lives. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a distracted driver, contact car accident attorney Paul Galm today for your free consultation. In the meantime, check out our blog for more safety tips and legal advice, like how to drive in rain, snow, and ice and what to do in case of a car accident.