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The National Safety Council has declared the month of April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Safety advocates and law enforcement personnel are using education and strict enforcement measures to discourage people from driving while distracted. Although distracted driving accidents have decreased in the past few years, they still cause thousands of injuries and deaths. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that nearly 3,500 people were injured and more than 390,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015 alone.
Distracted Driving Is Dangerous
Road conditions can change in an instant. A car could pull into your lane, a light could turn red, or the driver of the car in front of you may slam on the brakes. If you are not paying attention, you will be unable to make appropriate maneuvers and avoid a collision. While sending a quick text or just glancing down at your phone for a couple seconds might seem harmless, it takes your focus off the road. This puts yourself and everyone else in danger.
There Are Several Types of Distractions
While cell phone use is the most common form of distracted driving, there are several other types of distractions that can put you at risk for a crash. There are three main categories of distractions:
- Manual distractions
- Visual distractions
- Cognitive distractions
Manual distractions include things that take your hands off the wheel. Holding a drink or a sandwich, fiddling with a GPS or radio controls, and searching a purse or wallet for something are common examples of manual distractions. Visual distractions include things that take your eyes off the road. Glancing at a GPS, searching the backseat, looking at another passenger, and simply gazing at the scenery are common examples of visual distractions. Cognitive distractions include things that take your mind off of driving. Even if your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road, you may still be at risk for a crash because of cognitive distractions. Examples include thinking about work or family issues, daydreaming, and having an emotional argument with a passenger.
Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving
Driving while distracted puts you at high risk for a traffic accident. Thus, it is best to avoid distractions while you are behind the wheel. There are several steps you can take to avoid distractions and increase your safety. You should:
- Turn your cell phone off and leave it in the backseat or even in the trunk if necessary
- Have a passenger check your cell phone and send text messages for you
- Pull over and park before using your cell phone
- Eat before or after your trip, not while you drive
- Adjust all mirrors, A/C controls, and radio settings before you head out
- Mentally focus on the road
Waltman & Grisham Attorneys at Law Is Here to Help
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, Waltman & Grisham Attorneys at Law will walk you through the legal process. We believe negligent or reckless drivers must be held accountable in court. From start to finish, our Bryan car accident lawyers will discuss your options and tenaciously represent you as you seek justice from those responsible. Contact our office today to schedule a free initial case evaluation. We are available 24/7 for your convenience.