Utilizing a cell phone while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions and causes thousands of accidents worldwide every year. Even reaching down for your phone at stoplights or checking email can pull your attention from the road and put you off course.
Assuring yourself of safe driving requires being aware of what constitutes distraction so as to prevent an accident that could have serious repercussions. Here are eight things you should avoid doing while behind the wheel. You will need a distracted driving accident lawyer to help you in all cases.
Texting while driving is an extremely hazardous combination of visual, manual, and cognitive distraction that has become an epidemic among young drivers.
Teen drivers are most likely to engage in texting while driving; however, people of all ages can be at risk from texting-related car accidents.
Communicate to your teen the risks associated with texting while driving and emphasize its potential fatal implications. Encourage them to use voice-to-text or hands-free apps while driving; if necessary, pull over and park before responding to any text messages.
Drinking while driving can be a risky activity that leads to many car crashes. Alcohol consumption reduces reaction times, impairs judgment and impairs balance and coordination – all factors which put motorists at an increased risk.
Drivers should strive to avoid drinking and driving, or at the very least plan ahead for how they will get home if they decide to drink at an event – whether this means designating a driver, getting a ride from someone sober or using public transit.
As with driving under the influence, drinking can also create visual distractions, such as looking at another passenger or searching for bottles on the floor of your vehicle. Even two seconds spent looking away can double your risk of an accident.
Eating while driving creates many distractions that increase the risk of an accident, including unwrapping food, reaching for napkins and spilling drinks (especially hot coffee or soup) on the vehicle’s dashboard. All these activities can divert drivers’ attention from concentrating on driving safely.
The NHTSA has identified chocolate, soft drinks, barbecued foods, chili, burgers and soup as among the ten most dangerous foods for drivers to eat while driving. Eating these messy food items requires them to lean back towards their vehicle in order to reach them.
William Mattar’s distracted driving accident attorneys can assist injured parties in seeking financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with their accidents. Reach out today for a complimentary case consultation session.
4. Reaching for a Device
Drivers may become distracted by virtually anything that diverts their eyes or focus from the road, including reaching for devices, eating, talking with passengers, changing radio stations or adjusting temperature/AC systems in the car.
Studies have demonstrated that even taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds can cause an accident, which is why New York law mandates drivers stay completely focused while driving, including when operating commercial vehicles.
5. Listening to Music
Listening to music while driving may not be illegal in most countries, but it can still be hazardous and be a serious source of distraction. Navigating between tracks, fiddling with volume settings or singing along can all take your mind away from what lies ahead on the road.
Studies of 85 novice drivers aged 17-18 showed that those allowed to select their own music made more mistakes than those listening to safe tunes provided by researchers, such as speeding, aggressive driving and careless lane changes.
Music with a fast tempo and loud volume can raise your heart rate, reduce reaction times and make it more difficult to focus on the road. Therefore, the ideal choices of music while driving should include easy listening music such as soft rock or light jazz.
6. Talking to Others
Talking with passengers, using hands-free devices and even grooming activities such as brushing your teeth or applying makeup can all serve to distract drivers from the road. While these activities may appear harmless at first glance, they all require visual, manual and cognitive attention away from driving safely.
Cell phone records can help identify whether a driver was using their cellphone at the time of an accident, while other forms of distraction, like eating or changing radio stations may be more difficult to prove without witness testimony. An experienced personal injury lawyer can build your case against any driver responsible for injuring you due to distracted driving.
7. Checking Email
Once your attention wanders from driving, any activity that distracts it increases your risk for a distracted accident. While drivers might think activities like using navigation systems, brushing their hair, or altering vehicle settings don’t count as distractions, experts warn otherwise; in fact, just looking away for two seconds at 55mph doubles your risk for an accident or near-accident! Your NYC personal injury lawyer will help build an effective case on behalf of any injuries suffered as a result of distracted driving.