Distracted driving entails operating a vehicle while doing another activity that diverts attention away from driving, increasing the probability of a motor vehicle accident. Distracted driving activities may include using a cellular device, texting, eating, or using technologies inside of the vehicle, such as navigational systems.
The three types of distracted driving that lead to car accidents
The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention identifies three types of distracted driving that may cause car and truck accidents:
- Visual distractions cause your eyes to wander away from the road. These distractions may include: changing the radio station, regulating the temperature controls, adjusting the navigational system, taking in views outside, and looking for items on the floor or throughout the car.
- Manual distractions involve taking either one or both hands off the wheel. Examples of this type of distraction include: eating, drinking, smoking, adjusting one’s seatbelt, searching through belongings, and turning knobs in the vehicle.
- Cognitive distractions cause your mind’s focus to drift away from driving. These may include: talking to a passenger, daydreaming, thinking about upsetting situations, road rage, and being under the influence of alcohol/drugs.
National attention from media and law enforcement agencies has made clear that texting while driving is dangerous and can be deadly. Texting involves all three types of distraction, which drastically increases the risk of a car accident. When texting while driving, the driver is looking at his or her phone rather than the road and other vehicles (visual), using hand(s) to view and type messages rather than using both hands to have control of the wheel (manual), and focusing on the conversation rather than the road (cognitive).
Strategies to stay safe on the roadways
April was Distracted Driving Awareness month, which aims to bring attention to the consequences of distracted driving and strategies to eliminate distractions. Here are five tips that may help protect you while you are out on the road.
- Take a deep breath. If you feel anxious when you need to drive, try taking a few deep breaths before you start your vehicle.
- Review your dashboard and console. Make sure that the air conditioner is on your preferred setting, and that your radio stations are preset. If you need to use your GPS, set your intended destination before you drive.
- Fix your mirrors and your seat. Ensure that your mirrors give you the visibility you need before you enter the roadway, and that you are seated comfortably.
- Put your phone away. Put your cellphone in the glove box or in the console of your car, or consider turning it off entirely. If you use the navigation system on your phone, makes rue that directions are audible, and move the phone away from you physically.
- Do not be afraid to pull over. If you cannot keep your focus on the road, pull over into a safe place to rest.
The deadly statistics behind distracted driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over eight individuals are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that report the involvement of a distracted driver every day in the US. The Atlanta distracted driving accident lawyers at Harris Lowry Manton LLP have experience in wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits related to distracted driving. Use our contact form, or contact the firm at 404.998.8847 in Atlanta or in Savannah at 912.417.3774.