Many people believe that drunk driving is the most dangerous thing a person can do behind the wheel, but distracted driving is just as serious, and just as risky. Thousands of people have been killed by distracted drivers and hundreds more have been injured each year in the United States.
The End Distracted Driving website (EndDD) shares several startling facts about distracted driving for Distracted Driving Awareness Month:
- Driving and talking on the phone affects you cognitively as if you were driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08%, which is legally intoxicated.
- Texting and driving increases your risk of having—or nearly having—a car accident by 23 times.
- Reading or sending a text while you’re behind the wheel is equivalent to driving the length of a football field, 55 miles per hour, blindfolded.
In a nutshell, any activity behind the wheel that takes your mind or attention away from the task of driving is considered distracted driving. This includes even mundane or basic tasks that most people don’t even think twice about doing. Talking on the phone, sending a quick text, drinking coffee or having a snack, adjusting the GPS or map app, choosing a song on a music device, fixing makeup, chatting with passengers, even daydreaming or “zoning out” are all examples of distracted driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that in 2017, 3,166 people were killed in distracted driving accidents. Out of all fatal crashes in 2017, 8.5% were a result of distracted driving.
Avoiding driving while distracted
One of the best ways to avoid car accidents (although sometimes there’s just no avoiding reckless drivers) is to keep your full attention on the road and drive defensively. Remember not to fall into these traps of distracted driving, and keep an eye out for other drivers who may be distracted behind the wheel:
- Put your cell phone on “Do not disturb.” Most carriers provide an option that will halt calls and texts while the car is in motion.
- Program your GPS or map app before you leave. Even if you think you won’t need it, do it anyway. Unanticipated road work or traffic blocks might re-route you and you could need directions.
- Set up your music playlist while you’re at it. Your eyes aren’t on the road if they’re scrolling through a playlist. Taking your eyes off the road to search for a radio station is dangerous.
- If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over somewhere safe first. Also, try to avoid calling or texting someone you know is driving. Some phones have features with an auto-response that alerts people you’re driving and you’ll get back to them once you’ve arrived at your destination.
- Refrain from eating and drinking while driving. This takes your hands off the wheel and your mind off driving.
- Groom yourself before you leave the house. Applying makeup, brushing your hair, and shaving while you drive is unsafe.
If you’re injured in an accident with a distracted or reckless driver, the Georgia car accident attorneys at Harris Lowry Manton, LLP can help with your case. To arrange a no-obligation consultation, call us at 404-998-8847 at our Atlanta office, or in Savannah at 912-417-3774, or fill out our contact form.