April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and whether you’re a driver or a passenger, you should be aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Each day in the United States, it is estimated that more than nine people are killed by distracted drivers and over a 1,000 are injured – according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Distracted driving is not just talking on your phone or texting; in fact, there are numerous ways that drivers can become distracted while operating a vehicle. The more aware you are of these actions, the less likely you are to be a distracted driver.
More Than One Distraction Type
There are numerous ways to be distracted; in fact, there are three different types of distraction categories. These include:
- Visual distractions – These take your eyes away from the road ahead – such as looking down to read a text message or see who is calling on your phone.
- Manual distractions – This is a distraction that requires your physical/manual abilities. You may have to take one or both hands from the wheel in order to fulfill another task. For example, when you take your hands from the wheel to change the radio station.
- Cognitive distractions – These distractions take your mental focus away from the road and can actually limit your reaction time in emergencies. They could also force you to ignore traffic signals or even miss noticing pedestrians.
Prevention is Key
Distracted driving is 100 percent preventable, but it requires you to be aware of your actions and how those actions can affect your driving. A few things that you can do to avoid distracted driving this month, and in the future, include:
- Focus only on driving – everything else can wait. Do not let anything divert your attention from the road. This can include conversations with passengers, using cellphones and even changing the radio or your navigation system. Everything can wait until your vehicle comes to a stop.
- Store loose items in a place where they cannot roll around while you are driving. Moving objects in the vehicle pose a major distraction and can be a safety hazard – especially if one of those items becomes lodged under your brake or accelerator pedals.
- Adjust all electronic devices before you drive. That includes setting your navigation, making any phone calls, turning off your phone’s notifications, etc.
- Get children settled. Make sure that your kids are ready for the trip before you start the engine. That includes getting everyone bucked into their seats and entertainment devices set, among other things. Make sure that your children know that, when you are driving, they need to be quiet. If your children need your attention, pull over and check on them. Never attempt to soothe your child while you are driving.
- Avoid conversations with passengers. While this can be difficult, conversations require cognitive abilities – which means that you will focus more on the conversation than the road.
- Don’t use your car to eat or dress. Eating, drinking and applying your makeup are all distractions that require cognitive, visual, and physical abilities. If you must eat or drink on the road, use cups that are spill-proof and snacks that are easy to eat quickly, such as trail mix. Avoid full meals while driving.
Were You Injured by a Distracted Driver?
If you or a loved one was injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Chicago personal injury team at Malman Law today regarding your accident. Schedule a free consultation by filling out our online contact form with your questions.