It is well-known that electronic devices are distracting for drivers, but there are many other things that take people’s eyes, ears, hands, and minds away from the road. Distracted driving is a major problem in the United States, and it is a top cause of car accidents. Listed below are the biggest distractions for drivers.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that about 1.6 million car accidents are caused by cellphone use each year. Texting is responsible for one in four car accidents in the United States. For teenagers, texting while driving increases their risk of getting into a car accident by an astonishing 400 percent, according to TeenSafe.
Hands-free talking is better but not as safe as pulling over to make a call, text, or to send an email. Whenever a cellphone is used, no matter how, it is distracting. Responding to a seemingly important message can wait. Keeping your phone on Do Not Disturb mode while driving is advised.
GPS devices make driving easier, but they can take your attention away from the road if not used properly. It is best to program in the directions before heading out and to avoid entering information, like traffic hazards, while driving.
If you must do so, pull over somewhere safe, or have a passenger help out. If you get lost and need to input changes in your GPS device, do the same thing. Some drivers still prefer paper maps, but these can be just as dangerous.
When passengers are rowdy while you are driving, you can quickly become engaged with them and take your mind off the road. Preparation is the best way to avoid this problem.
Make sure that young children are properly secured in their safety seats and that they have been fed before you leave the house. Although it cannot always be avoided, it is better for them not to eat or drink in the car because they can spill or drop items; there is also the possibility of choking.
Also, provide them with soft toys, books, music, or videos to occupy them. Do not give them anything that can harm you if thrown in the car.
Teenagers can also be very distracting. If you have a teenager, you should restrict the number of your child’s passengers while they are driving. This will help minimize distractions for them. If you are driving with teenagers, try not to engage with them if they are noisy. Pulling over until they calm down is the best course of action and can prevent accidents and save lives.
Smaller pets should be placed in carriers or cages for their safety and yours. There are also harnesses made for large dogs that you can use as well. Be sure to feed them, give your pet water, and walk them before putting them in your vehicle. You can also provide a chew toy or something else to keep them occupied.
Eating, Drinking, and Grooming
Statistics show that eating or drinking while driving causes many car accidents. The risks increase when messy foods, like tacos, soups, or salads, are being consumed behind the wheel. Spilling something like hot coffee can easily cause a car crash. No one needs to eat or drink while driving, yet it is done all the time.
To minimize your risk of a distracted driving accident, eat or drink before turning on the ignition. If you must have something, choose foods that are easy to eat without taking your eyes and hands away from the road too much. Anything requiring two hands is a bad idea. Try to take bites and sips at traffic lights, and keep drinks in cup holders. Again, avoiding eating and drinking while driving is the safest choice.
Some motorists put on makeup or perfume, brush their hair, check their face in the mirror, and even floss their teeth while driving. Some people even change clothing while driving, pulling off and putting on shirts, tying ties, changing socks, and so forth. All of this is extremely dangerous and should be avoided.
Accidents and Signage
Many things can be distracting, whether they are inside or outside of the vehicle. Even some of the most conscientious drivers turn to look at car accidents. When they finally look back up, it may be too late to avoid slamming into another car.
Roads are also full of signs and billboards designed to draw attention. Of course you have to pay attention to stop signs and traffic signals, but you need to be extra careful while doing so.
Music can make driving more enjoyable, but taking your eyes away from the road to change stations or adjust the volume can also cause a serious accident. Using voice commands, adjusting air conditioning or music, and using other car features can wait until you come to a complete stop.
Poor Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions can also be distracting but cannot always be avoided. For example, heavy rain can cause drivers to become anxious and distracted. Sun glare can also be distracting, and it also leads to reduced visibility. To help, keep a pair of sunglasses in your car, and use them when needed. If the weather is poor and you feel unsafe, pull over, or do not drive at all.
Other drivers can also be distracting, especially when they are driving recklessly. A tailgater can easily take your attention away from the cars in front of or around you. Someone who is speeding could make you feel angry or frustrated.
When these things happen, stay away from these drivers. Responding to them can quickly elevate tempers, and you do not want to get involved in a road rage situation. Let them continue on their way while you return your attention to driving.
Daydreaming is a big distraction. How can you avoid daydreaming, though? Try to avoid driving at night, take a new route to work, take a break at a rest stop, or pull over to the side of the road until you can focus on driving.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Provide Trusted Legal Guidance to Those Injured in Distracted Driving Accidents
Many things can distract you while in the car, but it is important you take steps to minimize distractions. If you have been hurt in a distracted driving car accident due to no fault of your own, you may have legal options. Speak with one of our knowledgeable Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today. Call us at 302-888-1221 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Wilmington, Delaware, and we proudly assist clients throughout Dover, Newark, and Middletown.