More than one out of every four car accidents in the United States is caused by some form of driver distraction. This includes everything from texting while driving to talking on your cell phone. In an effort to be productive and stay connected at all times of day it seems we have forgotten how dangerous our actions can be on the road. But it doesn’t have to be that way! If you want help staying focused on what’s ahead instead of behind you then keep reading for tips straight from the experts.
1. Talking on The Phone and Texting While Driving
Distracted driving is not only dangerous for the driver, but for everyone around them as well. According to car accident lawyers, an accident can cost you thousands in medical bills as well as endless other bills. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), talking on a cell phone while driving increases your risk of being in an accident by four times! That’s because when you are distracted you take your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your mind off of what you are doing. This can lead to anything from running a red light to smashing into another car.
Texting while driving is even more dangerous. A study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute found that drivers who text are 23 times more likely to get into an accident! That’s because it takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds to read a text. At 55 miles per hour, that’s enough time to drive the length of a football field blindfolded!
2. Eating and Drinking
Eating and drinking while driving is another major distraction that can lead to accidents. It’s important to keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road while you are driving, and eating or drinking takes away from both of those things. In fact, according to the NHTSA, drivers who eat or drink while behind the wheel are twice as likely to get into an accident.
Even if you are not eating or drinking while driving, but have something in your car that you can snack on, it’s best to keep it out of reach. That way you won’t be tempted to take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel.
While it is important to stay groomed and look your best, it is not worth risking your life or the lives of others while driving. Putting on makeup, fixing your hair, and brushing your teeth are all activities that should be done before or after you get behind the wheel. According to the NHTSA, drivers who groom themselves while driving are three times more likely to get into an accident.
4. Using GPS Devices
GPS devices can be a great help when trying to find your way around, but they can also be a distraction. It’s best to program your GPS before you get on the road so you can focus completely on the task of driving once you are behind the wheel. If you are using a GPS while driving, be sure to keep it in a place that is easy to see and out of reach while you drive.
5. Reading Maps
If you are more old school, a physical map is just as much of a distraction. Reading maps while driving is another thing that should only be done before or after getting behind the wheel of your car. A map needs your full attention, which means looking down instead of up at the road ahead.
6. Adjusting Controls
Some cars today come equipped with lots of digital displays and controls, but adjusting these while sitting in traffic is not worth risking an accident. When possible, it is best to adjust these controls and displays before you leave. Alternatively, they can be adjusted after you start driving. If you are unable to do either of those things, make sure that your car is parked in a place where you will not get into an accident while adjusting the controls or displays, like at the side of the road or in a parking lot.
It seems like most people are guilty of the crime of distracted driving. Whether it’s talking on a cell phone, eating or drinking while behind the wheel, grooming oneself in traffic, using GPS devices, adjusting your car controls – there is always something that can distract drivers from their responsibility to stay safe and focused when they’re behind the wheel. The only way we’ll be able to stop this epidemic is if each one of us takes an active role in our own safety by stopping these distractions before they happen.