Distracted driving can lead to serious consequences, not only to you, but other drivers.
Read on to learn more about distracted driving risks and ways to improve your driving.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING
Distracted driving results from any activity that takes your attention away from driving. This can include texting, eating and drinking, talking to people in your car or changing or adjusting the radio or navigation system. Anything that takes your attention away from driving is considered distracted driving.
There are three different forms of distracted driving that everyone may be affected by:
- Manual distractions: Anything that takes your hands off of the steering wheel or feet off of the pedals
- Cognitive distractions: Anything that takes your mind off of driving
- Visual distractions: Anything that takes your eyes off of the road
DISTRACTED DRIVING DANGERS
Distracted drivers not only put themselves at risk, but also everyone else on the road. Distracted driving can be very dangerous and can lead to terrible accidents. The consequences of distracted driving can range from minor vehicle damage to a totaled car and devastating injuries or possible fatalities.
Many states have laws against distractions while driving, for example, texting and talking on a handheld cell phone while driving. By not doing these things, you are are making the road a safer place and not putting anyone at risk.
TIPS TO AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING
Use your cell phone only when it is an emergency
Using your cell phone while driving should only be used for emergency purposes. The text message you just got can wait. Put your phone out of reach, or on do not disturb. Make sure your phone is out of sight and out of mind.
When you get to your destination and text back, “Sorry, I was driving,” they will understand. Putting your phone away is a very easy way to eliminate distractions.
While it is not safe for an individual to be playing on his or her phone, there are apps that can help combat distracted driving.
Click here to read our in-depth blog.
Avoid eating while driving
If you are trying to finish your breakfast on the way to work or dinner on the way to your child's event, it might seem like you are saving time, but it makes you less aware to the cars around you. Spilling your food is a main cause of distraction.
Limit the amount of activity in your car
Driving with several passengers in the car can create a distracting environment as it is easy to focus on the passengers instead of the road. Let the passenger do some of the work since their hands are free. Let them use the GPS, radio or send a text message. These can limit the amount of distractions in your car.
If you are tired, pull off of the road
Drowsiness can increase the likelihood of a crash. If you are tired, get off of the road; it is not worth trying to get home faster.
Do not drive under the influence
Driving under the influence makes it difficult to focus your attention on the road, and alcohol makes you lose your inhibition. There are laws in place for drunk driving and large fines and license suspension if caught driving under the influence.
Start the discussion with your teen about why a driver should not drink and drive. Click here to read our in-depth blog on talking points you can use.
TIPS ON HOW TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE FOR YOUR CHILD
Lead by example. Children are likely to do what they see. You want to set a good example for your children while driving so they know how to be safe while driving. Here are some tips to lead by example:
- Focus on the road; do not multitask
- Buckle up, and keep the noise at a minimum
- Designate a texter
- Set your music or GPS before driving
- That text message can wait; do not use your phone while driving
- Do not drink and drive. If children see you doing it, they may think it is okay to do
TALK TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT DISTRACTED DRIVING
Talking to your child about the importance of being completely focused while driving is key. Reiterate that a few seconds of distraction can result in a terrible accident.
Remind your children that driving is a privilege, not a right, and other drivers deserve respect and your full attention on the road.
Outline specific rules that your children have to follow while driving and the consequences they will face if those rules are broken. For example, if they are caught speeding or if they are cited for distracted driving, then they may lose their driving privileges for a month. Make sure the rules and punishments are clear.
TEACHING YOUR CHILD HOW TO SAY NO
It can be hard saying no to your friends. Standing up to anyone is hard, especially when it is your friends. Get to know your child’s friends. A good way to do this is to drive your child’s friends to events or invite them to your home.
Children care about what others think about them, and this can make it hard to say no. Tell your child, “If it feels wrong, it probably is.” If one of their friends has been drinking, your children should not get in the car with him or her. Instead they can call you and you will be happy to come get them. Let your kids know that.
When it is hard for children to say no, have them blame it on his or her parents. This way, they do not feel like the bad guy, and maybe it will cause the other person to not do it also.
STEALEY LAW AND MEDIATION | CAR ACCIDENT LAWYER | WEST VIRGINIA
Getting in an auto accident can be scary and very disastrous, both financially and emotionally. If you need an auto accident lawyer, we have more than 38 years of experience, and we can help you.
At Stealey Law and Mediation, we see way too many auto accidents that are caused from distracting driving. Do not let distracting driving cause an accident.
If you or your child were involved in a car accident that was not your fault, read our blog on what to do.
Give us a call today at (304) 485 3127.
If your teenager just started driving, whether their own or yours, download and print our What to do After an Auto Accident glovebox card: