Americans long for the freedom of the open road. Yet millions of parents and loved ones fear nothing more than receiving a call laced with life-shattering news. The horror and agony are compounded when a distracted driving accident is the cause of injuries or fatalities. After all, almost all of those situations can be completely avoided. But aeveryone knows the dangers of distracted driving, so it can’t be that big of an issue, can it? Yes, it can, and it’s only getting worse. Here are 5 of the most common driving distractions.
#5: Playing with the Car Equipment
Many cars on the road today come preloaded with great radios, GPS systems, and technological gadgets that can impress an MIT grad. But those items can also be preset prior to shifting into drive. While the car radio distraction has always been an issue, it’s pretty much here to stay. Nonetheless, as more and more technology fills the dashes of modern vehicles, it’s becoming more difficult to remain focused on the road. Make a personal rule to leave the buttons alone until you pull over or make a temporary stop to avoid disaster.
#4: Interacting with Passengers
Younger drivers, especially, like to drive with their friends in the car. Government statistics show car crashes are the top killer for teens between the ages of 15 and 19. Passengers and the driver can contribute to the problem, and the more passengers in the vehicle the more likely the driver is to crash. Keep it simple and make sure your teen driver understands that at no time should they transport more than one person in the car unless it’s an absolute emergency.
#3: Grooming and Primping
Multitasking while driving is a dangerous and potentially fatal habit nowadays, and it’s not just kids. Grooming is a popular activity that can easily lead to a distracted driving accident. Simple movements like putting on lipstick, applying mascara, or even brushing your hair while the car is moving might only take seconds of your focus off the road. But that’s enough time to crash.
#2: Eating on the Go
Busy lives and fast food tend to go together. But eating and drinking in the car, especially when driving, is a recipe for disaster. It’s easy enough to get distracted while searching for a specific bagged item or performing a one-handed scavenger hunt for a kid’s toy. But if that food or ice cold beverage slips and falls on your lap, the car suddenly becomes an uncontrollable missile. Play it safe and pull over to eat.
#1: Texting or Talking on the Phone
According to a huge nationwide study by Zendrive, U.S. drivers use their phones during 88 out of 100 car trips. That averages to taking their eyes off the road for 3.5 minutes out of every hour. And just looking away from the road for two seconds increases the risk of an accident by 20 times. The safest thing to do in your vehicle is to turn off all mobile communication devices before starting the ignition and not turn them back on until you reach your destination. It’ll help you avoid a call to your Michigan distracted driving accident attorney. And while turning off devices may be a bit annoying for your contacts, it’ll ensure they at least get to see you again.