Distracted driving results in thousands of accidents each year in the U.S. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that distracted driving caused more than 3,400 deaths in 2016 alone. The problem is so serious that the National Safety Council has declared the month of April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Law enforcement and safety advocates are using education and strict enforcement measures to teach people about the risks of distracted driving.
Using a cell phone while driving is the most common form of distracted driving. However, many people do not realize that there are a host of other distractions that put them at risk for a crash.
In general, there are 3 main types of distractions:
- Visual distractions. These include things that take your eyes off the road. Looking at a passenger, gazing at the scenery, checking your phone, adjusting radio controls, and trying to read another car’s bumper sticker or a street sign are common examples of visual distractions.
- Manual distractions. These include things that take one or both of your hands off the wheel. Holding a drink or food, fiddling with A/C or radio controls, reaching into the backseat, searching a purse or wallet, and texting are common examples of manual distractions.
- Cognitive distractions. These include things that take your mind off of driving. Daydreaming, worrying about family issues, having an argument with a passenger, using voice-to-text technology, and listening to your favorite songs are common examples of cognitive distractions.
The Importance of Avoiding Distractions
A common excuse that many people use for distracted driving is that they can multitask. However, this is false thinking. While we may be able to multitask to a certain extent, driving takes a lot of mental focus. If you are trying to do something else, such as texting, you will be unable to do both things at the same time. While driving, it is important to keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind focused on driving. If you become distracted, you put yourself and others at risk for a crash. Traffic conditions could change in an instant. A light could turn red or a car could pull into your lane. If you aren’t paying attention, you will be unable to make quick maneuvers to avoid an accident.
How can you avoid distracted driving?
- Turn your phone off and put it in the backseat or the trunk
- Have a passenger send messages and check your phone for you
- Pull over in a safe place and park before using a cell phone
- Eat before or after you drive, not during the trip
- Adjust all A/C and radio controls before driving
- Ensure all children are buckled in and pets are stored in carriers
- Intentionally avoid mental distractions and stay focused on the road
Injured by a Distracted Driver? Mitchell & West LLC Will Provide Compassionate Representation.
At Mitchell & West LLC, we believe negligent, reckless, and distracted drivers must be held accountable in court. From start to finish, our Miami car accident attorneys will discuss your situation and use tailored legal strategies as you seek justice from those responsible. Depending on the situation, you may be entitled to a settlement for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.
Contact our firm today to schedule an initial consultation.