WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF DISTRACTED DRIVING?
Although drunk driving and speeding are common causes of car accidents, distracted driving can be just as dangerous. What's more, this type of driver negligence is more common than many of us realize. Any behavior that diverts your attention away from the task-at-hand — navigating the roadways in your vehicle — counts as distracted driving. But what are some of the most common examples of driver inattention? We're sharing five of them below in an effort to keep you safe when you're behind the wheel.
Cell Phones and Electronics: Undoubtedly, cell phones and other devices get the brunt of the blame here -- and it's easy to understand why. Although most people know they shouldn't be using their mobile phones while they're operating a vehicle, that knowledge doesn't stop these behaviors from occurring. And while it may not seem like a big deal to read a text message or place a phone call while you're on the highway, that decision can quickly turn deadly. Keep in mind that even hands-free electronics can be hazardous, as they can still distract you from your driving. As a rule, you should keep electronics out of sight for the duration of your trip.
Eating and Drinking: If you're running late for work or you decide to take your coffee on-the-go, it might not seem so strange to eat or drink while you're driving. But just because this happens a lot doesn't mean it isn't dangerous. Most drivers admit to eating while they drive, but spills, burns, and one-handed maneuvers can all lead to accidents. To avoid this scenario, plan to eat before you leave the house or save your drive-through meal for when you arrive at your destination.
Temperature or Audio Controls: In many cases, the bells and whistles that come with your car can lead to distraction on the road. Adjusting the temperature controls -- such as the heat, air conditioning, or defroster -- or the volume and station on your car's radio can be enough to take your focus away from where it needs to be. Instead of making those adjustments while you're trying to maneuver through traffic, give yourself enough time before heading out to adjust the cabin temperature and wait until you're stopped to switch the song.
Other Passengers: Even if you're generally a safe driver when you're on your own, the presence of others can deter all of your best efforts. Although drivers between the ages of 21 and 24 have the highest traffic-related injury rates per 100,000 population, drivers of any age and experience can become distracted when other passengers are in the vehicle. Whether you're dealing with crying kids or a few loud friends, you're responsible for setting the rules in your car to ensure you can keep your mind and eyes on the road without incident.
Wandering Thoughts: Interestingly, one of the most common causes of distracted driving doesn't involve electronics, food, or other passengers. Allowing your mind to wander to other things -- like an argument with a loved one, work-related stress, or your endless to-do list -- can result in a collision. While it's natural for your mind to wander for a second or two, practice diligence and mindfulness to ensure you stay safe while you're behind the wheel. There will be plenty of time to think about those other tasks once you're parked.
Whether you're heading out in your car, teaching your teenager how to drive, or trying to prepare for when other drivers decide to make poor choices on the road, we hope that understanding the causes of distracted driving can minimize your risk. If you've been hurt in an accident that might involve distracted driving, contact our firm today to explore your legal options.