As a driver, the safe operation of your car or truck is your primary responsibility, not only for yourself, but for your passengers and other drivers on the road. Driving while distracted is rapidly becoming one of the leading causes of car accidents. According to a report, a distracted driver is 23 times more likely to get into a car accident than a non-distracted driver. A source from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute said “a quarter of teens respond to a text message once or more every time they get behind the wheel.”
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month; it’s time to put the phone down and drive. Using a cell phone while driving creates the potential for more accidents to occur, some of them fatal. Here’s what you can do to drive more safely.
#1: Put Your Device In the Back Seat
The best way to keep your eyes on the road is to eliminate or remove any distractions; i.e. your cell phone. Instead of placing your phone in your console, or in your cup holder (for easy access), put your phone in the back seat. Is that text message, DM, or Instagram like that important that it can’t wait until you’re parked? Wherever you decide to place your device is solely up to you––we recommend the back seat in case you really do need it in the event of an emergency.
#2: Stop Safely or Pull Over
If you do need to use your cell phone while you’re driving somewhere, like as a GPS for directions, safely pull over on the shoulder and stop your vehicle before reaching for your device. Stopping your vehicle safely does not include red lights—please do not take this small pause as a chance to send a quick text.
#3: Use a Hands-Free Device
A hands-free device is a much better way to talk on the phone while operating a vehicle. However, it’s still considered a distraction, and can cause you to miss verbal or visual cues while driving––resulting in a traffic accident. When in doubt, your message can wait.
#4: Distracted Driving Is More Than Texting
Even though most people think of distracted driving as talking on the phone or texting while operating a vehicle––it’s that and more. Here are a few more examples of distracted driving:
- Eating and drinking
- Personal grooming
- Reading maps
- Using a navigation system
- Watching a video
- Adjusting the radio
More than 90% of highway crashes are caused by driver error, lack of knowledge, inattention, improper attitude, or faulty judgement. If you are worried, distracted, or if your mind is preoccupied, you cannot count on yourself to be sufficiently alert to drive safely.
The state of Alabama has a goal Toward Zero Deaths over a 25-year period. A future of attentive driving starts with you.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident due to the negligence or distraction of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Our team of attorneys is ready to fight your case for you––and win. Contact Wettermark Keith to speak to a legal representative.