On the road, distraction can be deadly. As the Federal Communications Commission reports, nearly 10 percent of U.S. crash fatalities in 2017 were the result of distracted driving. Every day, incidents involving distracted drivers kill an average of nine people and injure thousands. While these numbers are disturbing, diving deeper into the research surrounding distracted driving reveals something even more alarming: Many experts believe that distracted driving is underreported, and the total number of its victims is actually significantly higher. Clearly, the prevention of distracted driving is a concern for anyone who travels on American roads. Learning how to prevent distracted driving allows you to be part of the solution and helps keep you, your passengers, and those sharing the road with you a little safer.
How to Prevent Distracted Driving
By definition, distracted driving is multitasking while you are behind the wheel. Doing anything that involves taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off the task of piloting your vehicle qualifies. Using a cell phone generally requires all three of these activities, making it a triple threat. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that cell phone use is involved in 25 percent of car crashes. And according to the NSC, drivers using a cell phone are four times more likely to crash than their undistracted counterparts. Fortunately, there are several simple things that you can do to prevent your cell phone from becoming a deadly distraction while you are behind the wheel.
Avoiding Cell Phone Distractions While Driving
Cell phones offer opportunities to communicate, learn, inform, and entertain. While this versatility makes these devices wonderful tools, it also makes them potent distractions that can be difficult to ignore. What can drivers do to minimize the potential for distraction?
- Make a commitment. Resolve not to talk, text, email, watch videos, or otherwise use your phone while driving. Embrace habits that reinforce and support this decision.
- Do not just get in the car and go. Before you start your trip, make any necessary phone calls, send any texts or emails, check your directions, adjust your seat or mirrors, set the stereo, and adjust the climate controls.
- Place your phone where you cannot reach it while driving.
- If a ringing phone distracts you, turn it off or mute it. iPhones offer a “do not disturb while driving” feature that might be helpful; you can set it to automatically turn on if it suspects you’re driving.
- Download an app that automatically sends a message to anyone who texts you while you are driving, letting them know that you are unable to respond because you are behind the wheel.
- When traveling with a trusted passenger, ask them to take charge of your phone so that you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Tell friends, family, and coworkers that you do not use your phone while driving. Ask them not to call or text when they know that you are behind the wheel.
What About Hands-Free Technology?
You might be considering using hands-free technology to make calls or send texts. While many people believe that these technologies offer a safe alternative to picking up your phone, numerous studies prove that this is a dangerous misconception. Although using hands-free devices may let you keep both hands on the wheel, participating in a phone or text conversation still splits your attention and interferes with your ability to keep an alert eye on the road. In fact, the NSC reports that drivers miss seeing up to 50 percent of what is around them while talking on the phone.
Learning how to prevent distracted driving with your cell phone is a wise move that can help you stay safer on the road. Sadly, many drivers will still make the mistake of trying to multitask while they are behind the wheel. If you are injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, contact the Law Offices of Bryan Musgrave. Our dedicated team will help you secure the compensation that you deserve.