In our increasingly-connected world, there’s more pressure than ever before to stay constantly in-touch with family, friends, coworkers, and everyone else in our lives. This can present certain dangers when combined with the amount most Americans drive—according to a survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average American spent nearly an hour a day behind the wheel in 2017.
With so much time spent driving, many of us try to multitask: we might eat breakfast on our way to work, comb our hair or do our makeup while driving to an important meeting, or try to catch up on texts at a red light.
However, anything we do other than driving while on the road is considered distracted driving, and greatly increases our risk for a collision or other car accident. The situation has become so dire that April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
- In 2020 alone, 3,142 people lost their lives in crashes involving distracted drivers
- That’s 8% of fatal crashes in 2020 in which distracted drivers played a role
- Every day, 9 drivers are killed in distracted driving accidents
- Taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds is equivalent to driving the length of a football field, blindfolded. Studies show that two seconds is the maximum safe amount of time to be distracted from driving.
What can you do to keep yourself, your passengers, and your fellow drivers safe on your drive? The car accident injury lawyers at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys have compiled this list of the top 5 ways to avoid distracted driving.
1. Stow Your Phone
In most states, including Louisiana, it’s illegal for every driver to text while driving or use social media, and for some drivers and minor drivers to use their phones at all, except in emergencies. The penalties defined in distracted driving laws can be steep, and even steeper if you were texting before being involved in a car accident.
To avoid a potentially deadly situation, don’t use your cellphone while driving at all. Even hands-free calling and texting can leave drivers distracted for up to 27 seconds afterward, according to AAA. If you do need to use your phone, pull over to a safe place to make your call or answer the text message or email.
If you find it hard to keep from glancing at your phone, try stowing it away in your glove compartment or side door, or even put it in airplane mode. Texting and driving kills thousands of people every year. Don’t contribute to that grim statistic.
2. Don’t Be a Distraction
Even when you’re safe at home or at work, you can be considerate to the people you care about when they’re driving. If you know someone is on the road, don’t call or text them until you’re reasonably sure they’re parked.
3. Prepare before you drive
Especially if you’re in for a long drive, you might become uncomfortable or find that you want to change the station, CD, or podcast you’re listening to. When possible, you should make sure to do the following before you set out on the road:
- Pull up directions on your GPS
- Queue your playlist or choose a CD
- Adjust your seat, mirrors, steering wheel, and everything else you need to drive
- Secure your belongings and any children
- Make sure everyone has their seat belt buckled
4. Don’t Eat and Drive
With how much time we spend in our cars, it can be tempting to eat while driving. After all, you’re hungry, and besides, you’ve got your eyes on the road while eating, right?
Wrong. Not only do you frequently look down at the food in your hands while eating, you’re taking away one or sometimes even two hands from the wheel while you eat your hamburger, fruit, salad, or other snack. If you’re hungry on the road, pull over to eat.
5. Never Drive Drowsy
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, last year over 100,000 motor vehicle crashes involved drowsy driving. Studies have also shown that sleepiness can impact driving as much as or more than driving drunk! If you start to nod off while driving, do the safe thing and pull over immediately to rest or take a nap.
What to Do If You’re the Victim of a Distracted Driver
If you’ve been the victim of a Louisiana distracted driving accident, you deserve compensation for your injuries. Distracted driving can be at heart of many truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and more. Anyone, including truckers, can drive distracted, and with all the miles we drive every year in Louisiana, there’s always a chance you can be in a distracted driving accident.
It can be hard to fight for your just compensation after being involved in an accident involving a distracted driver. You need an experienced and compassionate lawyer by your side to gather evidence, file paperwork, and argue your case in front of a jury. A personal injury lawyer on the Get Gordon team can handle the legal fight so you can focus on recovering.
The team at Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are here for you. Give us a call anytime at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation about your options.