“Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” ~ The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),
April is Distracted Driving Awareness month and a time to focus on the choices one makes behind the wheel. The goal is to increase awareness of what happens when drivers don’t give their full attention to the road.
Thousands of fatal auto accidents occur each year due to drivers using cell phones, whether a hand-held or hands-free device. Because text messaging requires visual, manual and cognitive attention, it is by far one of the most dangerous distraction. Although texting and talking on a cellphone are the most widely distraction that drivers engage in, eating, drinking, talking to passengers, applying make-up, shaving, using a navigation system can also cause of many serious and fatal auto accidents.
What is hard to understand is that while many understand these dangers, they continue to engage in driver distractions. The best way to end distracted driving is to educate everyone on the dangers. Here are ten tips from AAA to avoid driver distractions:
10. Fully focus on driving and do not let anything divert your attention. Actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
9. Store loose gear, possessions and other distractions that could roll around in the car, so you do not feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
8. Make adjustments before your drive. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
7. Finish dressing and personal grooming at home – before you get on the road.
6. Snack smart. If possible, eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. On the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
5. Secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the back seat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
4. Don’t use cell phones while driving — handheld or hands-free — except in absolute emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the Internet with a wireless device, including those built into the vehicle, while driving.
3. If you have passengers, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.
2. If another activity demands your attention, instead of trying to attempt it while driving, pull off the road and stop your vehicle in a safe place. To avoid temptation, power down or stow devices before heading out.
1. As a general rule, if you cannot devote your full attention to driving because of some other activity, it’s a distraction. Take care of it before or after your trip, not while behind the wheel.
Each of us has the power to save lives. Distracted driving crashes are 100% preventable and Lawsuit Financial hopes everyone will share these tips and remind everyone not to engage in driver distractions. The more we all educate – seriously educate – about the dangers of distracted driving, the better chance we have to improve the safety of our roadways.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.