Driving is an enormous responsibility, and a task that requires a driver’s full attention at all times. Distracted driving is any activity that can divert a driver’s attention away from the road, endangering not only themselves, but passengers and bystanders as well. There are many objects and activities that can serve as distractions and impair a driver’s ability to drive safely; here are some of the most common:
1. Cell phone use
It should come as no surprise that cell phone use, whether talking, dialing, or texting, is one of the most common causes of distracted driving. Car accident lawyers have seen an immense increase in accident claims due to the rise of cell phone use while driving. Using a cellular phone requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, making it extremely dangerous, even if your system is hands-free.
If you are involved in an accident, and you know that the party at fault was using their cell phone when the accident occurred, be sure to let the police, and your car accident lawyer know.
2. Eating or drinking
You may think nothing of drinking your morning coffee in the car, or grabbing your afternoon snack to go, but eating or drinking while driving can be extremely distracting. It often means taking one hand off the wheel, or taking your eyes off the road to reach for or unwrap something, causing a significant delay in your reaction time.
Avoid using your car as a mobile dining room table by eating before you leave, or once you’ve reached your destination.
3. GPS navigation systems
GPS navigation systems are supposed to make driving easier, but despite their good intentions they present a major distraction.
If you’re going to use a GPS, make sure you program it to your destination before you start driving, or ask a passenger for navigation help. Make use of voice commands so that you can follow navigational prompts without having to take your eyes off the road, even for a split second!
Passengers can make a long road trip seem more bearable, but the truth is they can also make it more dangerous. Whether you’re turning around to talk to your kids, or looking at the person sitting in the passenger’s seat, other people in your vehicle can be an enormous distraction.
Many car accident lawyers will confirm that noisy or disturbing passengers are a common cause of distracted driving accidents.
5. Distractions outside the vehicle
It can be hard to resist looking at an attention-grabbing person, object or event outside our own vehicle, but it is important to keep your eyes fixated on the road at all times. Resist the temptation to gawk, even if something interesting is happening around you.
Other distractions include adjusting the car stereo, smoking, grooming, and even reading a map or a book. Staying away from all of these common distractions can save you a call to a car accident lawyer and in more serious circumstances, your life!