You lead a busy life. At home, at work, and in your community, you’ve built a full schedule for yourself. And as you juggle it all, you have mastered the art of multitasking. You send emails at the gym, you eat while you walk, and you make phone calls on your way to work. And though you should be proud of your productivity, we implore all of you multitasking experts to refrain from these habits while behind the wheel.
One of our most significant distractions is our cell phones. From these ever-advancing devices, we have access to a whole world of information. You can call your mom, schedule appointments, make dinner plans, and even order pizza! With so many capabilities, it is tempting to do all of these things, even while driving. That’s why California is leading the way in the safe-driving legislature. At the very start of 2017, California’s governor enacted the Distracted Driving Law, which prohibits the use of one’s cell phone while operating a vehicle.
California has led other states to tighten their own distracted driving laws to make the nation’s roads safer. However, it is not just our cell phones that are vying for our focus while on the road. No matter the distraction, be sure to take note of anything that demands your attention while behind the wheel.
Other common causes of distracted driving:
A smoking addiction can make it impossible for someone to put down their cigarette, vape pen, or joint. Smoking, putting ashes in a tray, or lighting up are all causes of drivers taking their hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and mind off the task of driving.
2: Using vehicle controls or devices
Sometimes gadgets and functions imbedded within your vehicle can cause distractions. Seemingly innocent actions, such as adjusting mirrors, using navigation systems, changing the climate controls, or tinkering with the radio, may all result in fatal crashes.
3: Moving pets
While people love to take their dogs with them everywhere, sometimes this can create a dangerous situation. If a dog becomes excited or angry inside of a car, it may cause the motorist to become inattentive.
Too many people groom themselves while driving. No matter how late people are for work, grooming is never a safe or acceptable activity. Putting on makeup, combing hair, or shaving are all potentially dangerous behaviors.
5: Eating or drinking
Those who’ve turned their cars into their dining room partake in risky behavior. When a driver sips on a coffee or enjoys a hamburger, they put themselves and other motorists at risk.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,166 lives were lost to distracted driving in 2017. Every little thing that vies for your attention while on the road could have extreme consequences. So, whatever it is that seems so important to accomplish before reaching your destination...it can probably wait. Focus on the road and prioritize your safety and that of those around you above all else.
Follow these tips for avoiding distracted driving:
- Do not use your cell phone. Yes, really, don’t even touch it. Millennials and youngsters are commonly teased for their incessant use of cell phones. However, there is no demographic group based on age, race, or location, that dips below 90% of cell phone ownership. No one can be caught without one! But driving and cell phone usage should never go together. Nothing is more important–no text, call, Facebook notification- than your undivided attention to the road. And remember, use of your phone while driving is even deemed illegal in California. So...put your phone away!
- Map out your route beforehand. Many drivers rely on a GPS app on their phones to get around town. If people are unsure of where they are going, they are more likely to pay attention to their directions than the road. So, before heading out, drivers should have a good idea of where they’re going so that they do not have to rely on a navigation app exclusively.
- Give some responsibilities to your passengers. When driving, both hands should be on the steering wheel at all times. Do not spend time fiddling with the radio or responding to a text. If a driver needs to complete a task immediately, then hand off the responsibilities to a passenger.
- Don’t drive when you’re drowsy. We’ve all been there- late in the night, hours slipping by while our eyes grow weary, yet relentlessly determined to reach our destination. However, this stubborn willpower to fight our sleepiness is quite dangerous. In fact, drowsy driving increases the risk of crashing by a whopping four times. A government report found that 37 percent of drivers have nodded off or fallen asleep at least once in their experience driving. It is a common hazard and can have devastating consequences.
- Limit the number of passengers and activity that goes on within your car. While having your passengers might assist in keeping you awake, navigation, and DJing, they might also pose a distraction. So, if belting out your favorite tunes and playing the license plate game with your passengers is distracting while you drive, stay disciplined, and refrain from doing so. Sorry to ruin the fun, but we promise that making it home safely is better than car karaoke.
- Don’t eat while you drive. For all of you who are relentlessly late to work and fight to scarf down some breakfast on your commute, we must warn against this habit. While you fumble to peel your banana and juggle a spilling bowl of cereal (arguably the worst meal for the car), you become distracted from the road. This is the most common fault of the nine to five commuter when behind the wheel. Don’t let your rushing-to-work habits land you in an accident!
- Don’t multitask while driving. Once again, you rushed multitaskers out there must find time to put on your makeup, brush your hair, and even your teeth elsewhere! It’s simply not worth it. Don’t mix up your priorities. Focus on the road and leave other tasks at home.
Don’t let your driving attentiveness be compromised for the sake of your busy schedule. A car accident is certainly expensive, often life-changing, and potentially fatal. Be smart. Stay focused. Get to your destination safely.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted driving-related accident, do not hesitate to reach out for legal guidance. We at Peach and Weathers are prepared to offer you counsel and advocacy in this challenging time.