If someone asked you the biggest reason for car crashes, what would you guess? Many might say speeding, drunk driving, or bad weather. However, distracted driving is by far the most significant cause of accidents on the road.
Learn more about the dangers of distracted driving and how you can prevent accidents.
The Causes of Distracted Driving
It may seem obvious, but distracted driving is whenever a driver is at the wheel and not focused on the road.
A driver using their cell phone while behind the wheel accounts for the most common causes of car accidents. And for many who what distracted driving is, they probably picture drivers texting or browsing social media while operating their vehicle. Because of this, some drivers think that because they are not using their phones while they drive, they can’t be guilty of distracted driving.
However, distracted driving goes beyond cell phones. It could be changing the radio station, snacking, being preoccupied with your GPS, or even talking to people in the backseat.
These small distractions can last long enough to cause you to get in an accident. If your eyes, hands, and attention is diverted by anything, it could be the reason you harm yourself or even are at -fault for changing other people’s lives forever.
Laws Preventing Distracted Driving
Laws exist in many parts of the country to limit and eventually stop distracted driving.
Forty-eight states and some US territories have laws against texting while driving, with penalties ranging from fines to jail time. However, this has not proven totally effective in stopping drivers from using devices or doing other things while driving, and distracted driving remains one of the most common causes of car accidents.
Ultimately, each driver must take responsibility for where their attention goes and for keeping their focus on the road.
How to Reduce Instances of Distracted Driving
It’s estimated that 424,000 people were injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving. With staggering numbers like these, it’s time for every driver to do their part.
It can be hard to ignore your phone, children calling for your attention, or the need to have a snack while you drive. Here are some tips to help curb the habits you have in place that lead you to drive while distracted:
- Use the car’s Bluetooth system to make changes to your music or GPS destination. Many vehicles have built-in voice recognition systems to allow you to keep both hands on the wheel as you go. Even if you don’t have built-in technology, you can use aftermarket accessories like a phone mount to decrease the amount of time you are distracted.
- Pull over and park when you need to eat a snack or drink some water. While you may worry that this will make you late, eating doesn’t take long when you give it your full attention. Eating a snack typically will only take a minute or two to complete, and you’ll feel more alert and energetic as you drive to your location.
- Speak to your children before you get in the car about the importance of keeping your attention on the road and why you shouldn’t be interrupted as you drive. Model good behavior for older kids who will be learning to drive soon by staying off your phone while you drive.
Staying Focused Could Save Lives
It may not seem like a big deal to send off a quick text or reroute your GPS while driving. However, a simple act you may do every day could be what causes severe injuries to you, your passengers, or other drivers. Ensure that you and your loved ones understand the consequences of distracted driving so that you can keep everyone on the road safe.