In 2019, 8.5% of all fatal accidents were the result of a distracted driver. The percentage is even greater when accounting for injuries as a result of distracted driving.
Most, if not all drivers, would agree that certain behaviors cause drivers to take their eyes and mind off of their driving. If it’s so obvious that driving distracted leads to terrible consequences, why do drivers continue to drive and allow distractions in their car?
Are you a driver guilty of distracted driving? If we know it’s bad, why do so many drivers do it? How can you change your habits and practice better safe driving going forward?
Read on for tips on how to eliminate driving distractions so you can be a safer driver.
What Is Distracted Driving?
As a driver, distracted driving is pretty straightforward. Anytime you take your eyes or your thoughts off the responsibility of driving, you become distracted.
Most experienced drivers might argue that, well, they’re experienced and can handle doing more than just driving. The statistics would say otherwise. In today’s busy, technology-driven world, there are a plethora of ways a driver can become distracted. More on this later.
Types of Distracted Driving
There are three main ways a driver can become distracted, eyes off the road, mind off the road, and hands not on the wheel.
There are so many reasons a driver might take their eyes off the road. Driving past a crash scene, looking at roadside signs, or even looking in the mirror all take eyes off the road. How many times have you seen other drivers looking in the mirror, maybe even applying makeup while driving?
Drivers also take their eyes off the road when they reach for objects that have fallen or they turn to talk to another passenger. Drivers might even just look away from the road to adjust controls on their car. Of course, now so many drivers are looking down at cell phones to answer and send text messages.
Another way drivers are distracted is when they take their hands off the wheel. It takes away their ability to react quickly. Drivers who are eating and drinking or reaching for other objects are perfect examples.
Finally, there are the drivers who let their mind wander and they forget they’re driving. A driver could start daydreaming or talking with another passenger and not have their brain engaged on driving.
Who’s Most Likely to Drive Distracted?
It probably won’t come as a big surprise that the drivers who are most at risk for distracted driving are young drivers. In fact, 25% of all fatal accidents from distracted driving were drivers aged 20 to 29.
39% of teens in 2019 who were surveyed admitted to texting or emailing in the previous 30 days from when they were surveyed.
Don’t think to yourself, my kid’s too smart to do something that dumb. In fact, students who got good grades, in As and Bs, were just as likely to text as students with lower grades.
Sadly, students who participated in one form of risky behavior, like texting while driving, were more likely to do other risky behaviors while driving, like drinking alcohol or not wearing a seatbelt, for example.
How Can You Prevent Distracted Driving?
So, knowing all these risks, what can you do to prevent driving while distracted so you can avoid a potential accident?
First, turn off the phones. Even phones that are connected hands free are a distraction. Set your phone to silent and leave it alone while driving. It can be hard at first, but once you get more used to not looking at it while driving, you won’t miss it.
While all the ways to get drive-through food and drink are convenient, avoid eating and drinking while your car is moving. If you want to eat, pull over and eat while parked.
Cars today also come with lots of buttons. Before you start driving, take care of the climate control buttons. Get them set how you want so you’re not messing with them while driving. The same should be true of the infotainment centers found in cars. Get them set where you want before you start driving.
Avoid driving when you’re upset, super stressed, or worried. It’s worth taking the time to calm down so your mind doesn’t wander while your car is moving and cause an accident.
If you travel in your car with pets, you want to secure them before you start driving. They should be either in a crate for the car or secured so they can’t move around while driving.
Getting Help If You’re Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident
The statistics should be enough to scare off drivers from picking up their phone or messing the controls in their car. Yet, the statistics also say otherwise.
So, much of the distracted driving happening out on the roads results in accidents and injuries. So, it goes from being a foolish driver, to being one responsible for potentially hurting others as a result of your distraction. This means getting personal injury attorneys involved to protect your interests.
Whether you were involved in an accident you caused by distracted driving, or you were the victim of another driver’s carelessness, you need an attorney to help you from the consequences of the accident.
If you have any kind of injury, it’s even more important to get legal representation so your interests are protected.
Use These Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
You don’t have to be out on the roads long to recognize that distracted driving is a real issue. This makes it even more important for you to avoid being a distracted driver so you can stay alert and aware of what other drivers are doing.
If you’ve been involved in an accident because of distracted driving, you need to talk to an experienced auto accident attorney. Contact us today so we can get started helping you with your case and protecting your interests.