April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month, but that shouldn’t mean that drivers are only aware at wheel one month out of twelve. Unintentional accidents, including car wrecks, are among the top 10 causes of death in the United States.
How are you distracted when you drive?
There are many different diversions behind the wheel. Take a look at the following common distractions to see if changes can be made to be more aware while on the road.
Eating and drinking
One of the most common distractions is eating and drinking while driving. We are all usually in a hurry, whether it be to work or school or another activity, and fueling up on the road has become second nature.
If you have to eat while in transit, avoid foods and drinks that are messy or hot: chocolate, powdered donuts, BBQ, chili, soup, and tacos. Hot foods and drinks can spill on you or the interior of the car, leading to a possible accident. Foods that are messy can provide the same outcome with unwashed hands that need to touch the steering wheel to drive.
However, the best solution is to pull over to eat while driving or waiting until a stop sign / stoplight to take a sip of your drink. By taking this step, you are removing the risk and staying alert.
Attending to passengers
Another distraction is attending to passengers in the car. Parents may find it difficult to pay attention while a baby is crying in the backseat or when two children are fighting.
When a baby is crying in the backseat, you can try cracking the window a little. Sometimes the wind and whooshing sound will entertain the infant. Playing music is another option. Make sure to choose songs that are calming for your baby. If the baby is still crying, find a place to pull over safely to check on your little one.
Give children that are fighting something to do, like a car game. If you are driving through a rural area, have them look out the window to spot the number of cows that they see. For older children, you can have them play the alphabet game and spot words on signs, trucks, or buildings that begin with each letter of the alphabet (in order). Persistent fighting may require you to pull over until they have calmed down. Kids won’t want to stay out forever and will eventually calm down just to go to their destination.
This is another scenario where you ran out of time and are on the way to work or another activity where you need to look your best.
Most women only take 5-10 minutes to put on their makeup, while others need 15-30 or possibly more. Instead of being distracted behind the wheel, the easiest solution would be to apply makeup before leaving your home. Try adjusting your schedule so that you wake up a little earlier with time to spare for your makeup routine.
People are curious by nature, but slowing down to look at an accident or event as you pass by can cause another accident. Every second that you take your eyes off the road is a hazard.
The solution to this is simple: Don’t rubberneck. It’s not worth risking your life and others to catch a glimpse of the aftermath of a wreck or some other event.
Sometimes people go on autopilot and let their mind wander. This is risky to do while behind the wheel. Daydreaming can distract you by making you unable to fully process the hazards that may occur right in front of you.
Your hands are already on the wheel and your eyes are on the road. Just focus on bringing your mind back to the present task. It can help to open a window slightly; the fresh air will assist in keeping your mind grounded and out of the clouds.
Texting or being on your phone in general is a major distraction. Simply reading or sending a text can take your eyes off the road long enough for you to drive the length of a football field (NHTSA, 2018).
You can be fined in some regions for texting or being on your phone while driving. The best solution is to put it away and respond to calls and texts after you reach your destination. If it is urgent, you can find a safe place to pull over and respond. Otherwise, you risk receiving a fine as well as putting others lives in danger. Also, some phones have the option for auto-responses when busy. Letting your contact know that you are on the road with an auto-response can save you from being distracted.
According to the NSC (National Safety Council), on a normal day, over 700 people are injured due to distracted driving. If you have been in a car accident and need the services of an experienced attorney, call the law firm of Attorney Dean Boyd. Our Team has the knowledge and skills to get you the compensation you deserve. You can reach us at (806) 242-3333 or Contact Us by email.