Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in America. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that approximately eight people die every day because of distracted driving, while the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) claims that roughly 400,000 accidents occurred in 2018 due to driver distraction.
A driver taking their attention off of the road, even for just a second, could lead to a car crash, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident. In extreme cases, it can even lead to wrongful death. To help you and the drivers in your family avoid a distracted driving accident, Patterson Legal Group presents the common causes of vehicular distractions and how to avoid them.
Common Causes of Distracted Driving
There are three basic types of driving distractions: manual, cognitive, and visual. Here’s a breakdown of what each type entails.
Manual distractions are ones that cause you to take one or both hands off of the steering wheel. The safest way to drive is with both hands securely on the wheel. Taking one or both off it decreases your ability to control your vehicle, especially when a split-second reaction is required. Manual distractions include:
- Drinking or eating
- Putting on makeup
- Changing music tracks or radio stations by hand
- Looking for a dropped object
Cognitive distractions are ones that take your focus away from driving. Keeping your mind on the act of driving is a simple, yet essential part of safe driving. Activities that can take your mind off of driving include:
- Having an engaging conversation with passengers
- Talking on the phone
- Driving after an emotional event
- Driving while mentally drained
- Driving while impared by alcohol or drugs
Lastly, visual distractions are ones that make you take your eyes off of the road. Seeing what’s directly in front of your vehicle, as well as what’s coming immediately, is vital to keeping you and your passengers safe. Distractions that affect your vision include:
- Looking at a GPS map
- Admiring scenery
- Checking out a car accident you’re passing
- Looking at your passengers while talking to them
- Looking for a dropped object
As you’ve probably guessed, the increased capabilities of mobile phones have led to an increase in distracted driving accidents. Mobile phones can do so much and can cause all three types of distractions mentioned above. While early mobile phones could only distract through conversation, modern phones let you play games, check social media, watch videos, and more while driving.
How to Avoid Distractions While Driving
There are many simple things that you can do to help keep your mind, eyes, and hands focused on driving. To dramatically reduce your distractions, it’s important to do all of these things. One moment of distraction could be disastrous. To help you stay safe on the road, you should:
- Keep two hands on the steering wheel at all times
- Always keep your eyes focused on the road
- Limit the music volume in your car
- Keep conversation at low volumes and to a minimum
- Enter your destination on your GPS prior to driving and rely on its audio prompts
- Use your phone’s hands-free mode if available
- Use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto instead of your phone if possible
- Use voice commands if your car’s infotainment system has them
- If your eyes or mind feel weary, safely pull over for a rest
Each of these things is simple to do on their own, but it can be tricky remembering to do all of them. However, doing so is incredibly important. Not only will you be maximizing your safety and the safety of your passengers, you’ll also be putting yourself in a better position to deal with distracted drivers.
Hit By a Distracted Driver? Contact Patterson Legal Group.
The team at Patterson Legal Group hopes that this blog has helped you understand the seriousness of distracted driving. Please share it with your family and friends so that they know what the possible issues are and how to avoid them. Should you get into an accident because of a distracted driver, please contact us immediately.
Patterson Legal Group is available to serve you 24/7. You can contact us by phone or through the Internet. We also have offices throughout Kansas and Missouri, including St. Joseph, Topeka, Wichita, and our newest location in Garden City. Don’t let the insurance company take advantage of you. Contact Patterson Legal Group today.