Many people find driving to be a relaxing activity. Not that grinding day-to-day commute, but perhaps a leisurely weekend drive out to admire the local scenery. However, your pleasure drive can turn dangerous if confronted with road hazards or distracted drivers, which is why you need to always remain vigilant behind the wheel.
Did you know that driving and talking on the phone gives you the same level of impairment as driving with an intoxication level of 0.08%? And that texting behind the wheel increases your risk of crashing or near-crashing by 23 times? And that sending or reading a text is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded at 55mph? [EndDD.org]
Texting and driving isn’t the only form of distracted driving. Anything that takes your mind off the task of driving, or your eyes off the road, or your hands off the steering wheel is distracted driving. That includes eating, grooming, adjusting a GPS, changing your music, or talking to passengers. These activities might not seem like distracted driving because they’re so commonplace, we probably don’t even think twice about doing them. However, they are very dangerous—in 2015, 3,477 people were killed and an additional 391,000 were injured in car accidents involving distracted drivers.
Common driving distractions
It’s evident from the following list that technology is playing a bigger and bigger part in distracted driving. However, all forms of distracted driving are dangerous.
- Phone calls: Making them or taken them distracts you from the task at hand. Even using hands-free technology, you’re still taking your mind off the road.
- Music: Many drivers admit to fiddling with the radio or even flipping through songs on their phone or iPod while driving.
- Eating and drinking: Eating/drinking behind the wheel takes your hand off the wheel and your eyes off the road. It’s also extremely distracting to handle your meal.
- Rubbernecking: Just about everyone has slowed down to look at an accident. This also takes your eyes off the road, causes undue traffic, and raises the risk of another accident.
- Drowsy driving: Driving while drowsy affects your cognitive function and ability to focus.
- Using social media: It might seem crazy, but many people update or check social media behind the wheel. It should go without saying that nothing is that important—it can wait.
- Grooming: Your car shouldn’t be the place during your commute where you apply makeup or use an electric razor. Your eyes are not on the road if they’re looking in the mirror.
The big problem is, it’s not that difficult to avoid distracted driving.
Avoiding distracted driving
How can you avoid driving distracted? Here are a few things to remember and incorporate into your driving habits. If you must talk on the phone, use a hands-free device. Avoid texting and driving. And remember, new drivers are banned from texting and driving in Arizona for the first six months of having their license. Program your GPS beforehand, even if you think you won’t need it. You never know if you’ll get re-routed. Set your music playlist while you’re at it. Don’t let your passengers or pets distract you. Simply, stay alert.
If you are interested in setting up a presentation on the dangers of distracted driving, attorney Nick Verderame is a part of the National Network of Volunteer Distracted Driving Speakers. He can speak to your group; simply call or email the firm for more information.
The experienced Phoenix lawyers at Plattner Verderame, P.C. are here to help when you’ve suffered injury in a car accident. We work hard to help you secure compensation. Please contact our reliable, knowledgeable trial lawyers by calling 602-266-2002 or filling out our contact form.