Categories:   Useful Automotive Information
Distracted Driving-Why It's So Dangerous and How to Avoid It
Distracted driving is a significant problem on the roads and is one of the leading causes of car accidents. In fact, research has shown that distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Distracted driving is a significant problem on the roads and is one of the leading causes of car accidents. In fact, research has shown that distracted driving is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many people don't realise just how dangerous distracted driving can be- you may think that checking a text message or reaching for a snack won't take your eyes off the road for very long, but it only takes a split second for an accident to occur. The fact that technology has made it easier than ever to be distracted while driving. With smartphones, in-car entertainment systems, and GPS devices, there are more potential distractions than ever before. Preventing distracted driving requires a collective effort from everyone on the road. By taking steps to avoid distractions while driving and being aware of the signs of distracted driving in others, we can help make our roads safer for everyone. Here’s what you need to know.
Why is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?
When you're driving, your focus should be on the road and the other drivers around you. When you're distracted, even for just a moment, you may not see a pedestrian crossing the street or a car suddenly swerving in front of you. In these situations, a split second can make all the difference. Distracted driving also slows down your reaction time. If you're not fully focused on the road, it may take you longer to hit the brakes or make a quick turn to avoid an accident. This can be especially dangerous on highways or in heavy traffic where a sudden stop could cause a pile-up.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving can be divided into three main categories:
- Visual Distractions - Anything that takes your eyes off the road, such as looking at a phone, GPS, or something happening outside the car.
- Manual Distractions - Any activity that takes your hands off the wheel, such as eating, drinking, or adjusting the radio.
- Cognitive Distractions - Any activity that takes your mind off driving, such as daydreaming, talking on the phone, or thinking about personal problems.
While all three types of distractions can be dangerous, texting while driving is considered the most dangerous because it combines all three types of distractions.
How to Avoid Distracted Driving
Now that we know just how dangerous distracted driving can be, let's talk about some ways to avoid it.
Put Away Your Phone
The biggest culprit of distracted driving is often our smartphones. It's tempting to check that notification or send a quick text, but it's just not worth the risk. If you're driving, put your phone away. You can even turn on the "Do Not Disturb While Driving" setting on your phone to block incoming calls and texts.
Get Organised Before You Start Driving
If you're someone who likes to eat in the car or touch up your makeup while driving, try to get everything done before you start driving. This will help you avoid any distractions while you're on the road.
Pull Over if You Need To
If there's something you absolutely have to do, like taking an important phone call, pull over to a safe location and then take care of it. It's not worth risking your safety or the safety of others on the road.
Make Sure Your Passengers are Buckled In
While talking to passengers isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can be distracting if they're not wearing their seatbelts. Make sure everyone in the car is properly buckled in before you start driving.
Don't Drive Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is not only illegal, but it's also incredibly dangerous. If you're going to be drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or use a ride-sharing service to get home safely.
Plan Your Route Beforehand
If you're driving somewhere new, take a few minutes to plan your route before you start driving. This will help you avoid getting lost and having to look at your phone or GPS while you're driving. If you do need to adjust your route, pull over to a safe location before making any changes.
Avoid Driving While Drowsy
Driving while drowsy can impair your ability to drive safely, making it just as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. According to the National Sleep Foundation, being awake for 18 hours straight can cause the same level of impairment as having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05%, and being awake for 24 hours straight can cause the same level of impairment as having a BAC of 0.10%. Driving while drowsy can cause a range of negative effects on your driving performance, including slower reaction times, impaired judgement, and reduced awareness of your surroundings. This increases the risk of accidents, which can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. If you're feeling tired, it's important to take a break and get some rest before getting back on the road. This could mean taking a quick nap, even if it's just for 20-30 minutes, to help you feel more alert and refreshed. Alternatively, you could get some fresh air by taking a short walk or stretching your legs. And, of course, a cup of coffee or other caffeinated drink can help you feel more awake and alert.
Keep Your Car in Good Condition
Regular maintenance is key to keeping your vehicle in good condition and ensuring that it's safe to drive. Make sure your brakes, tires, and headlights are all in working order, and get your oil changed regularly. If you notice any strange sounds or vibrations while you're driving, get them checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Stay Calm and Focused
Finally, one of the most important things you can do to stay safe on the road is to stay calm and focused. Whether you’ve just passed your test or have been driving for years- if you're feeling stressed or anxious, it can be easy to make mistakes or lose focus. Take a deep breath, turn on some calming music, or podcast you were listening to before you started driving. And remember to always keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. Avoid distractions like texting, eating, or adjusting the radio while you're driving. By staying calm and focused, you'll be able to react quickly and make safe decisions while driving.
Distractions and DUIs
If you have been involved in a car accident caused by distracted driving, it's important to consult with a qualified attorney who specialises in this area of law. A DUI attorney with experience in handling cases involving distracted driving can help you navigate the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. They can also help you gather evidence to prove that the other driver was distracted at the time of the accident and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. By hiring a skilled DUI attorney, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and damages, including medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Ultimately, safe driving is a shared responsibility that requires all drivers to be aware of their surroundings- you can play your part in creating a safer driving environment for yourself and others on the road. Remember, safe driving is not just about arriving at your destination on time, it's about getting there safely and responsibly. There are other road users too that deserve to be able to drive on safe roads, and that means that everyone must do their bit by keeping in mind the steps above.
What steps can you take to stay safe while driving and contribute to creating a safer driving environment for yourself and others on the road?