There are many things that drivers do behind the wheel that end up taking their eyes and attention off the roadway. Some of these require a momentary glance away, while other tasks force a driver to divert their eyes and attention for up to 5 seconds. Whatever the case, driver distraction is now becoming epidemic, mostly due to the proliferation of the cell phone. As a result, all of us are encountering what I call a “new universe of roadway risk” giving rise to a greater probability of serious injury and death.
While not everyone holds a cup of coffee with one hand, a cell phone in the other and drive with their knee while behind the wheel, there are still some pointers that can be used to avoid becoming part of the ever-growing statistics associated with distracted driving.
A Crash Lawyer’s Perspective
Many people don’t realize that distracted driving contributes to approximately 8,000 accidents each day. At any time, more than 800,000 people are using a cell phone while behind the wheel. This alone quadruples the risk of them being involved in an accident. I see this every day as I handle serious injury cases that result from texting and driving.
Based on my experience, working adults now represent the largest class of distracted drivers as they try and manage busy personal lives and job responsibilities. In fact, new studies are coming out showing that the overwhelming number of drivers admit to using a cell phone while driving in the past 30 days. .
Many people are surprised to hear me say that distracted driving is more dangerous than drunk driving. I say this because there are far more distracted drivers causing violent collisions than drunk drivers. Further support for my opinion comes from the fact that law enforcement is far more able to curb a drunk or impaired driver. The distracted driving laws we have in place are not working to reduce distracted driving therefore I have reason to believe that the problem is only going to get worse.
The best way of protecting yourself from a distracted driver can be reduced at ABCD. That is drive alert, buckled, cautious, and defensive. By always driving with the highest degree of care you will put yourself in the best position to avoid a distracted driver. Here are some other tips that will help you remain focused on the road and prevent being involved in a distracted driving accident.
- Plan ahead: Before you hit the road make sure to know where you are going and what type of weather you may encounter.
- Glove box your phone: While this may sound quite difficult, glove boxing your phone will help to reduce the temptation to text or talk while behind the wheel.
- Prepare pets and children for the trip ahead: You need to ensure your children are buckled in and that they have snacks and a source of entertainment before hitting the road. The same goes for your pets.
- Satisfy all of your cravings while off the road: Make sure to eat any snacks or meals before you get in the driver’s seat. If you are going to be going a long distance, take a break from driving while you eat.
- Avoid clutter that isn’t necessary: Make sure to stow away any objects that may roll around while you are driving. These are objects that may take your attention away from the road.
- Make sure your head is in the game: You have to focus on driving, nothing else.
Making sure you are safe while on the road will also ensure others are safe while on the road. If you ever are the victim of an injury that occurs because of a distracted driver, make sure to contact an attorney.