You’re on route 83 traveling at 65 mph and decide to look away from the road and check your phone to look at an incoming message. It’s about four seconds until your eyes return to the road. Did you know in those four seconds you traveled the length of a football field – without looking at the road?
Data from the National Safety Council shows 38,800 people were killed in automobile accidents in 2019 in the U.S., and studies have shown distracted driving is a major cause. Driving when your attention is anywhere except the road is risky and dangerous – and can change lives in an instant.
Here are five critical tips to minimize distractions when you’re behind the wheel.
1. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 481,000 drivers are using cell phones while driving in the U.S. When distractions are within arm’s reach, it’s tempting to take a quick peek to stay connected. But remember, it can only take one or two seconds to cause an accident due to inattention.
Put your mobile device, work files and other sources of distraction in the back seat or the trunk. That way, it’s more difficult to take your attention away from the road.
2. Speak Up!
When riding in a vehicle as a passenger, speak up if the driver becomes distracted. Offer to send a text, adjust the volume on the radio, or input a new destination into the navigation system so the driver can remain focused on the road ahead of them.
3. Set It and Forget It
Remember that 65 mph statistic from earlier? Turning your eyes away from the road while driving 65 mph to adjust the volume or make a change in the navigation system means you may have blindly traveled the length of a football field.
If you simply must take that call or make changes to your navigation system, use a designated pull-over spot, find the closest parking lot or use voice command if your car offers it. As drivers zipping around from destination to destination, we sometimes forget that stopping is an option. If the call isn’t important enough to stop, it can wait.
4. Speak to Young Drivers About Responsible Driving
Speak with teen drivers in your family about the importance of safe, distraction-free driving. Encourage them to avoid texting or interacting with other devices while driving and be sure to model responsible driving whenever they’re in the car with you as passengers.
5. Don’t Forget Your Seatbelt
Seatbelts are the best protection against unsafe driving. Although you are responsible for your own actions behind the wheel, you cannot be responsible for everyone else on the road. Remember to always buckle up.
Auto accidents caused by distracted driving are preventable. Help reduce the number of accidents and related injuries by immediately committing to attentive driving and spreading the word to others to do the same.
If you or a loved one were injured in a distracted driving auto accident, get an experienced car accident lawyer on your side to protect your rights. Reach out to Dale E. Anstine today to learn more. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7, and there’s no fee unless we win for you.