Avoiding Distractions While Driving
April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. If you are reading this on your phone while driving, put it down and focus on the road. Driving requires your full attention, and you can prevent a car accident by minimizing any distractions.
Distracted drivers are a threat to anyone in or near their vehicles. When drivers take their eyes and attention off the road, even for a couple of seconds, their car can cover a great distance, especially when traveling at high speeds.
Distracted Driving Accident Statistics
Keeping your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel sounds simple, but the statistics show otherwise. Studies indicate that people can only process a limited amount of information at any one time. People are forced to shift their attention back and forth to accommodate multiple demands, making distracted driving a danger to everyone on the road.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):
- More than 3,100 people were killed in accidents due to distracted driving in 2020.
- Nearly 9 percent of all car crash deaths involved distracted driving in 2019.
- About one in five people killed in distracted driving accidents in 2019 were pedestrians or bicyclists.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers ages 20 to 29 accounted for 25 percent of distracted drivers involved in deadly crashes.
The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) found that motorists who talk or text while driving are three times more likely to cause a distracted driving accident.
Categories of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving fall into four main categories:
- Visual distractions: when you take your eyes away from the road, such as turning to talk to a passenger.
- Auditory distractions: when your attention shifts, like listening to music or conversing with a passenger.
- Manual distractions: when you move your hands away from the wheel, like drinking, eating, or texting.
- Cognitive distractions: when your mind wanders or is preoccupied with other thoughts that keep your focus away from the road.
Behaviors of Distracted Driving
Inattentive driving is not limited to texting while driving. It is any activity that takes your attention away from the road. Here are some common distraction behaviors:
- Applying makeup or grooming
- Eating or drinking
- Engaging in a conversation with a passenger
- Focusing on the rear-view mirror
- Staring at an accident scene
- Talking on the phone
- Turning to grab items from the back seat
- Turning to face a passenger in the back seat
- Using a GPS
- Watching a video while driving
Although most people acknowledge that distracted driving is hazardous, many admit to engaging in such behaviors while behind the wheel.
Ways to Help You Focus On The Road
While most distractions are avoidable, some are impossible to prevent entirely. When that happens, it is essential to minimize them. Below are some tips to help you stay more focused while driving:
- Focus simply on driving.
- Use your cell phone for emergency situations only.
- Limit the number of people and activities in the car.
- If you are drowsy, pull off the road.
- Do your multi-tasking outside the car.
- Store loose items that could roll around in the car so you do not feel tempted to reach for them.
- Adjust your mirrors, radio, GPS, and seats before hitting the road.
- Dress and groom at home before you get on the road.
- Eat snacks or meals before or after your trip, not while driving.
- Ensure your children and pets are safely secured before getting on the road. If they need your attention, pull off to the side of the road to attend to them.
- If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.
Watch YouTube Video: How to Avoid Distracted Driving. The video from Craig Hospital below provides more driving safety tips to avoid distracted driving.
Personal Injury Attorneys in Sacramento, CA
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento personal injury attorney. Distracted driving can compromise the safety of the driver, passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road. If you have suffered a serious injury in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Call our experienced legal team today at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly advice.
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