Checking your phone. Eating a snack. Making eye contact with a friend in the rearview mirror. While these actions seem quick and harmless, it only takes seconds for an accident to happen. Put simply, reading a text while driving at 55 mph is like driving blind for the length of a football field!
Distracted driving refers to doing any non-driving activity that takes your attention off the road, increasing the chances of being involved in an accident. In fact, according to the NHTSA, distracted driving is the leading cause of all vehicle accidents. It’s responsible for almost 80% of crashes and accounts for nine deaths per day in the United States (per the CDC).
Not only is distracted driving dangerous, but many states have made certain distracting activities against the law. In 2010, Kentucky passed a bill banning drivers of all ages from texting while their vehicle is in motion.
What can you do if you’ve been injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver in the Louisville area? Once you are safe and have received medical treatment for any possible injuries, it’s important to find an experienced Louisville auto accident lawyer who can help you recover maximum damages.
To keep yourself from getting distracted while driving, there are simple actions you can take. Here’s a list of the most common types of distractions and how to avoid them.
- Visual Distractions: anything that takes your eyes off the road, even for just a split second.
- Manual Distractions: anything that takes one or both hands off the steering wheel.
- Cognitive Distractions: anything that takes your mind off of driving.
- Emotional Distractions: anything that causes emotional distress while driving.
Not surprisingly, the most common distractions while driving today involve a cell phone. This includes texting, making phone calls, searching on Google, or checking social media.
Of these, texting is one of the most common and dangerous distractions because it takes your eyes, hands, and mind off of driving. In fact, the National Safety Council found that texting while driving is responsible for one out of every four car accidents in the United States, which is six times the rate of driving while under the influence.
When you’re in a hurry or running late, you are more likely to get distracted and/or make hasty decisions. The best way to avoid the need for an auto accident lawyer in Louisville is to take time to prepare for your trip and complete other tasks before getting on the road.
Here are some simple tips to prevent distractions:
If you don’t know exactly where you’re headed, set up and review the route on your GPS and enable the voice feature before departure. This will eliminate the need to look at your navigation system at every turn. If you need more help, ask a passenger to navigate for you.
Passenger distractions are often hard to control, so limit the number of passengers in your vehicle if possible. This is especially important for new drivers and teenagers who often drive with their friends. Children, infants, and pets can also be distracting, so make sure they are safe and secure in their seats and occupied. Be sure to make frequent stops for them to use the bathroom, stretch, and get some exercise.
In return, able passengers can help keep others busy as well as politely remind the driver to pay attention and redirect them when they are distracted.
Keeping both hands on the wheel is essential for reacting quickly in an emergency. That means refraining from doing anything that requires a free hand, such as eating, smoking, grooming, reaching for loose items, or controlling devices. Instead of searching for a song on your device, create a playlist ahead of time or settle for the radio. If you need to make or take a call, opt for a hands-free device. Or better yet, just pull over.
This point can never be emphasized enough. The best policy when it comes to phone use is to turn it off and put it away until you’ve reached your destination. If that is not possible, avoid temptation by disabling notifications or getting an app that blocks incoming calls and messages. A list of distracted driving apps can be found on the DMV.org website.
Focus On the Task of Driving
Have you ever arrived at your destination but can’t remember how you got there? Even when your eyes are focused on the road, it’s easy for your mind to wander. In addition, emotions can cloud your judgment, so it’s important to manage stress while driving. Be sure to take breaks when you need to and if you find yourself feeling sleepy or unable to concentrate, pull over to a safe place.
While it may seem convenient or efficient to multitask while driving, it’s never worth putting lives at risk. With that said, we cannot control what other drivers do— and accidents still happen.
Here at Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers, we are the auto accident lawyers Louisville residents can count on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. From slip and fall incidents and vehicle crashes to work-related accidents and police shootings, we handle all kinds of personal injury cases. No matter what, we’ll have your back and with our no fee guarantee, we won’t get paid until you do.
If you’ve had an auto accident in or around Louisville, contact Sam Aguiar Injury Lawyers for a free consultation today!