We Americans love our cars, but driving does not come without a cost. On average, there are over 30,000 fatal car accidents each year. Car accidents occur for a number of different reasons, but one of the leading causes is distracted driving. Distracted driving accounts for over 1 million car accidents each year and in over 1 in 10 fatal accidents is caused by a distracted driver.
Common Driving Distractions
Distracted driving is most often associated with cell phone use. Whether it is texting while driving, talking on the phone, or using a smartphone to look something up online, cell phone use is clearly a driving force behind distracted driving accidents. However, there are many other distractions inside a vehicle that can lead to an accident as well, including:
- GPS system
- Audio system
- Eating or drinking
- Other passengers
Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving Accidents
The most unfortunate thing about distracted driving accidents is that they are entirely avoidable. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind that will help you avoid causing an accident due to distractions.
- Turn off your cell phone and stow it away – As soon as you get in the car, either turn your phone off or put it on silent mode. Then place it in the glove department or another area of the car that is out of reach. If your phone is off an out of reach, it is much easier to resist the temptation to use it while you are behind the wheel.
- If you must use your phone, pull over – Of course, there will be times when you absolutely need to make a phone call, respond to an email, or look up an address on your smartphone. When that happens, pull over to a safe location to use your phone.
- Map your location before you begin your drive – If you use a GPS system to map your route, enter your destination before you start driving.
- Do not eat or drink while driving – It can be tempting to snack in the car, but multitasking slows down your reaction time. Save snacks for when you get to your destination or pull over before you eat.
- Do not allow your pet to roam free in the car – Many people like to let their pets sit in their lap or roam the cabin freely, but pets can be a major source of distractions while driving. Always make sure your pet is caged and secure while the vehicle is moving.
- Mind your kids – Small children in the backseat can often provide distractions to the driver. If a situation arises with your children that requires your attention, pull over and address it before getting back on the road.
- Stay focused – Even if you avoid obvious distractions, people still have a tendency to let their mind wander or daydream. Make sure that you are always focused on the task at hand and aware of your surroundings. Remember, even if you are not distracted, there is no guarantee that other drivers are not. By staying alert at all times, you will be in a better position to avoid a potential accident.
What To Do If You’ve Been Injured By a Distracted Driver
If you have been in an accident that was caused by a distracted driver, contact an auto accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Arnold & Itkin provide legal representation to victims of distracted driving all across the country. Contact our auto accident attorneys today for a free consultation about your legal rights.