7 Ways Distracted Driving Leads to Car Accidents
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of road accidents. This includes texting while driving, but there’s more to it than that. Many people think as long as they aren’t staring directly at their screen for a minute at a time, then they’re probably good…they’re wrong! Put together by car accident lawyers in Douglasville, GA, here’s seven other things that can lead to accidents in the car.
Whether they’re fighting, teasing, maybe even intentionally distracting you, it’s important to maintain control of your passengers. That said, your focus on the road is more important than the kids’ behavior. Don’t let “Don’t make me pull this car over!” be an idle threat. Pull the car over. Explain to your children how dangerous their behavior is, and why they need to behave while you’re driving. Help them understand the risks of distracting a driver.
Aside from all the other risks of smoking, it’s especially dangerous to do so in a moving vehicle. Even with the window down, ash can be blown back into your car by the wind. It could land on your skin and burn you, or on your clothes or carpet and start a fire. No matter how good a driver you are, if your skin is burning, you’re probably going to look away from the road for a second. If you really need your nicotine hit on that long drive, think about nicotine patches or gum.
In the days of car radio, it wasn’t too hard to just find your station and leave it there. But with smartphones and iPods, we’re allowed to be much pickier about what we’re listening to. Flipping through playlists or finding the exact podcast episode you wanted to finish distracts you from the road. Even if you’re just glancing down to see what’s next in the queue, it’s dangerous. Use your smartphone’s voice command feature or invest in a Bluetooth car console that allows you to skip songs with the quick push of a button.
Whether it’s your phone or a built-in GPS, it can be distracting. Some GPS systems have outdated road maps that can be frustrated and have you staring at the screen, watching your arrow move along, instead of the actual road you’re driving on. Try not to glance over at the screen every few seconds to make sure you’re still on the right path. Leave the voice narration on so you don’t have to look at all to know when your next move is. And if you miss a turn, don’t freak out! Most GPS apps these days will quickly and automatically redirect you based on your new path. You’ll get there eventually, and much quicker if you don’t make a sudden turn into an accident.
Whether on the phone or with passengers, investing yourself too much in conversation takes your attention away from the road. You don’t need to be completely mute when you’re driving, but you should prioritize your own safety and that of your passengers. Don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings by having to say, “Hold on a second, I need to change lanes,” or even telling a friend you’ll have to call them back after you’ve arrived at your location.
Much like kids, pets can be a dangerous distraction. Sometimes they’re worse than kids, because they’re prone to jump on you, bark, or relieve themselves in your car.
The safest thing to do is put your pets in a cage for transportation. Even well-behaved animals can have moments where they get frightened or want attention. And they don’t understand the importance of concentration while driving. It’s safest for your pet that they be locked away carefully where they can’t take your attention away from the road.
Similar to smoking, eating in the car occupies one of your hands. If you drop the food you could burn yourself if it’s hot or be distracted trying to clean up your mess. If you pull through for some fast food, eat it in the lot. A huge double patty burger dripping with ketchup is not the safest choice when you’re trying to drive.
Driving is dangerous, but you can minimize the risks by being one of the safest drivers on the road. Challenge yourself to maintain complete focus on what matters at the time: safety.
This is a collaborative article.