America is a nation that relies on cars, but driving does not come without a cost. Nearly 85 percent of Americans have drivers’ licenses. At least 83 percent of drivers in the nation say that they are frequently on the road. As with any repetitive task, driving is something that many people become so comfortable with that they forget to prioritize safety as much as they should be.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, distracted driving accounted for 2,841 deaths in 2018. The agency also estimates that distracted driving injured at least 400,000 people that year. While the numbers are hard to track, these facts might make distracted driving the most common cause of car accidents in the United States.
This makes distracted driving one of the most dangerous and completely preventable hazards Americans face each day on the road.
What Causes Distracted Driving
Distracted driving happens anytime a person’s complete attention is completely focused on driving safely. Today, it’s often associated with cell phone use. Whether it is texting while driving, talking on the phone, or using a looking up something 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 use
- Audio systems
- Eating or drinking
- Other passengers
How Distracted Driving Can Be Prevented
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.
- Start your GPS guidance before you 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.
- Don’t allow your pets 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 tend 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 always staying alert, 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 car accident that was caused by a distracted driver, contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Arnold & Itkin provide legal representation to victims of distracted driving across the country. Contact us today at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation. We’ve helped clients recover billions of dollars by always demanding the accountability they deserve, no matter what. We never back down, we always focus on what a client needs, and we're ready to listen to what happened to you so we can start fighting for your recovery.