Diverting attention for just a couple of seconds while driving can result in a fatal car accident. And many of these car crashes frequently occur due to distracted driving. This is why authorities often try to raise awareness about the level of attention and focus that needs to be paid while sitting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Distracted driving has been a growing problem on roadways as the popularity of cell phones increases among young adults and teens. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2019, distracted driving claimed the lives of 3,142 people.
But What is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving prevents you from giving full attention to the road while driving. There are three types of distracted driving that can occur. They are:
- Visual Distraction. A visual distraction occurs primarily when the driver takes their eyes off the road. A visual distraction could be as simple as “rubbernecking,” when a driver turns their head while driving to look at an accident or event that is happening on the roadside. This can cause the driver to slow down, increasing the risk of a crash.
- Cognitive Distractions. Cognitive distractions move the thought process away from the action of driving. Many drivers have caused accidents and have reported they were daydreaming or just detached from the activity of driving. Cognitive distractions can be a consequence of sleep deprivation, stress, and other psychosocial stressors that may affect the thought process. Also, drivers may get involved in conversations with other people in the car, talk on the phone, listen to the radio, or be paying attention to their children in the backseat, rather than what is happening on the road in front of them.
- Manual Distractions. Manual distractions are present when the driver’s hands are not on the steering wheel. Cell phone use, applying make-up, catching something that fell, eating, and drinking are all manual distractions that don’t let the drive react in time in the event of an accident.
Getting distracted while driving represents a significant increase in the likelihood of a fatal accident happening, and it does not matter if there are more vehicles around or the driver is the only one on the road.
A study conducted in 2017 by the NHTSA stated that people between 15 and 20 years old were more likely to drive with electronic devices in hand, with the majority of them texting while driving. However, they also engaged in phone calls, looking for playlists, or playing games on their phones while driving.
The same study also showed that this population is more likely to do other actions such as drinking, eating, or applying make-up than older people, also while driving.
In addition, statistics from 2019 have shown that in the U.S., young drivers seem to be more prone to the use of cell phones while driving, and this was directly reflected in a 10% increase in fatal accidents that year in comparison to the previous year. This means, providing advice and education to younger drivers can positively impact these numbers.
How to Drive Responsibly?
Being responsible when driving is knowing your actions come with consequences that can put others on the road at risk. Being in a rush does not justify your need to use the phone, send a text, or the myriad of other tasks that may be distracting you while driving. Here are some ways to protect yourself and others when driving:
- Do you need to send a text? Usually, a text message can wait, but if you do think you need to answer that text message now, then the best course of action is to pull over and park your car in a parking lot or side of the road. This would be a safe location where you can pay attention to what you are sending and not lose your focus on driving.
- Do not answer any phone calls. The previous idea also applies here; if you need to make a phone call or answer the phone, just pull over to make the call.
- Social media will be there later. You do not need to scroll through social media apps while you are driving. They can certainly wait until you get to your destination. A good idea for avoiding this temptation is to put the phone far away from you or in the back seat of the vehicle you are driving.
- You do not need to get ready while driving. If you are at home and realize you are running late, it is better that you take the extra time to get ready than do it while driving. Brushing your hair, putting on make-up can be major distractions while driving, and a few extra minutes in front of the mirror at home could make the difference in a deadly accident.
- Keep mealtime on the kitchen table. It can be tempting to want to eat on the go, but driving and eating can cause swerving and distractions. Pullover to eat your meal. It just takes a moment and could save a life.
- Avoid rubbernecking. While driving, if you saw an accident on the roadside, do yourself a favor and continue driving. Remember, you can always check the news or even social media when you are at your destination. Rubbernecking can cause backups, fender-benders, and other accidents, putting you and others in harm’s way.
Being in the Palm Beach area allows you to find a car accident attorney that is part of Dori Saves Lives. Silver Injury Law is one such car accident attorney that not only will defend your legal interests when involved in a car accident but is also a Dori Saves Lives partner committed to social awareness about distracted driving.
Dori Saves Lives is focused on ending distracted driving as 3,500 lives are lost and more than 400,000 injuries occur each year due to accidents involving distractions while driving. The foundation was formed in 2004 by former Rep. Irv Slosberg and current Rep. Emily Slosberg after Dori Slosberg, Emily’s twin sister, was killed in a car crash.
Dori Saves Lives works to promote awareness about the dangers of distracted driving behaviors, especially in teens, as car crashes are the No. 1 killer in those aged 15 to 19 years of age in the U.S.
The foundation has raised over $55 million to educate teen drivers through the Dori Slosberg Driver Education Safety Act, which was passed in 2002. All of the proceeds for the Dori Slosberg Driver Education Safety Act goes towards school Driver’s Education programs and not toward administrative fees.
As a partner of Dori Saves Lives, Silver Injury Law supports educating America’s youth on the dangers of distracted driving and sees the importance of teen driver safety in Florida.
Being involved in a car accident is never a good experience. But no matter if you are the victim of the crash or think you are at fault, the best option is to contact a Boca Raton car accident attorney to determine your legal rights and help you understand the best course of action for your case. Contact Silver Injury Law today for a free consultation.