Distractions bombard us from every side when we are driving. Whether it’s your cellphone, rowdy passengers, or roadside events, allowing yourself to be distracted visually, manually, or cognitively can lead to disaster.
It’s quite difficult to block out distractions, so people are always looking for ways to convince themselves to not engage in distracted driving. Especially for parents, providing your kids the tools necessary to avoid risky driving behavior and stay safe on the road is a constant struggle.
In fact, CDC and NHSTA statistics show that distracted driving is nearly or just as dangerous as drunk or impaired driving.
The emotional and economic costs of distracted-driving accidents are real. To help keep you, your passengers, and you family safe, here are 10 actions that can help prevent you and your kids from distracted driving.
Easy Steps to Stop Distracted Driving
1. Just Turn It Off
The most effective way to not use your phone is to turn it off. This guarantees the driver doesn’t receive or send texts, doesn’t check social media, and doesn’t make any calls. This is a step many people are reluctant to take.
2. "Do Not Disturb" and Car Mode
Virtually every mobile device has a built-in “Do Not Disturb” feature. Some even let you set an auto-reply message. On top of that, some vehicles have in-car technology platforms that sync with device features like Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
3. Download a Distract Driving App
If you always forget to enable DND mode, and if turning a phone off completely is beyond the pale to you, don’t worry. There are tons of third-party apps you can use that promote safe driving and disable distracting phone features. Plus, many will auto-enable when you begin to drive.
4. Pull Over
If it’s an emergency and you must return a text or phone call, it’s always safest to pull over to the side of the road or into a parking lot. It might increase your drive-time a little bit, but it will massively decrease your risk of getting into a deadly crash.
5. S-M-A-R-T Method
The S-M-A-R-T Method is the creation of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. It is a mnemonic device that helps parents remind their kids about the types and dangers of distracted driving. SMART stands for:
- Stay focused on driving
- Make preparations before you begin
- Avoid all other activities
- Rely on Passengers
- Text or talk later
6. Follow the 3-Second Rule
This has nothing in common with the infamous 5-second rule. Following the 3-second rule means making sure you leave plenty of room (3-seconds) between you and the car in front of you. Distracted driving crashes occur because of delayed reaction times, so increasing the following distances allows extra time to brake.
7. Use In-Car Hands-Free Technology
Most new vehicles include car maker–specific integrated tech platforms. These touch screen, infotainment systems sync with cellphones and offer a variety of hands-free options to reduce distracted driving. 82% of vehicles sold in 2019 had a dashboard touch-screen device. Though you might avoid manual distrcations, research shows that they can still be very cognitively distracting.
8. Ask Passengers to Be Eyes and Ears
Especially for younger drivers, setting expectations for passengers is important for pre-empting dangerous behaviors. Be clear up front that your passengers should not be disruptive or rowdy. Instead, ask them to be an additional set of eyes and ears for you.
9. Secure Kids and Pets
We love our pets and our kids, but they too can be distractions for a driver. Make sure your pets remain in the back seat, never let them ride in your lap, and refrain from petting them while driving. Properly securing children in safety seats also reduces the risk of getting distracted.
10. Plan Ahead for Success
Having a game or battle plan is a fantastic way to increase the likelihood of success. The same goes for driving. Before setting off, check the route to your destination to ensure there aren’t slowdowns or detours. Getting caught in a traffic jam can lead to frustration, which can lead to aggressive driving. Also take a second to check your car’s mirrors and tires, adjust the seat and steering wheel, enter GPS coordinates, or make music choices.
Stay Safe and Arrive Alive
Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Every time a driver chooses to engage in a distracting activity while behind the wheel, they put their life and the lives everyone else at risk. Whether it’s for 2 seconds or 30 seconds, when a driver takes their hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, or mind off driving, some could be seriously hurt.
Distracted drivers are both more likely to cause an accident and less likely to avoid an accident. Unfortunately, you or your teenager may still be the victim of a negligent, distracted driver. If a distracted driver causes you harm, you have the right to hold them accountable and to receive compensation for your injuries.
Don’t let an aggressive insurance company force you into accepting less than you deserve. The personal injury lawyers here at Personal Injury & Accident Law Center would love to speak to you about your case and tell you how we can help you get on the path to recovery. Call us today at (561)372-3800 to schedule a free case evaluation or fill out the confidential form below and a team member will contact you soon.
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