It is estimated that distractions cause upwards of 400,000 car accidents every year because of a driver who is distracted. In many of these cases, injuries and fatalities result, and in all of these cases, the collision was likely avoidable. This is why it is of the utmost importance that drivers identify and eliminate any distractions that may compromise their ability to drive safely. There are three major categories of distraction-visual, manual and cognitive-and these four tips will help you avoid falling prey to all of them.
Plan in advance
Some of the biggest sources of manual and visual distraction are tasks that could have and should have been completed before beginning a trip. Perhaps you need to program your GPS device or eat a meal. People commonly do these things while they are driving, even though they are distractions that are risky at best. You can avoid them by simply planning in advance and completing any potentially distracting tasks before driving.
Sounds are a common source of distraction, too, and they are particularly harmful because they can lessen your awareness of your surroundings by making you unable to hear important cues. If you have the radio on, for example, you might not hear the honk that would have warned you of another car’s presence. Cellphones and passengers can also distract you and compromise your ability to focus on driving. When you set out on a trip, cultivate a quiet atmosphere in your car.
Keep your eyes on the road
Perhaps the most important driving principle is to simply keep your eyes on the road. Anything that causes you to look away, even for a moment, is a danger to your safety and the safety of those around you. If something falls under your seat or the seat next to you, resist the urge to grab for it. Instead, wait until you pull over so that you can retrieve it safely. Wouldn’t texting, using a phone, tuning the radio also be important here?
In general, if you ever face a distraction that threatens to take your attention away from the road, it is a good idea to pull over and take care of it so that you can focus your attention entirely on driving. Be proactive in eliminating these threats, and you will likely find that your driving experience goes much more smoothly and is safer, too.
If you have been involved in a collision where distraction was a factor, there are legal options to explore. Contacting an attorney can help you understand what they are.