Dangers of Distracted Driving

Multitasking while driving has become a common activity within our nation’s drivers. Distracted driving is extremely unsafe and can cause injuries and deaths. It only takes five seconds of distracted driving to cause potential fatalities. Putting yourself and others at risk is not worth the consequences. Practicing safe driving techniques will help prevent car crashes and protect your overall health and wellbeing. Distractions can be avoided if focusing on the road becomes the main priority.

Types of Driver Distractions

There are many different distractions that can cause drivers to divert their attention from the road and increase the potential for an accident. Vehicle distractions come from the following four sources and can danger everyone on the road:

  • Those that are associated with the vehicle, such as the controls, navigation systems, and displays
  • Those that are brought into the vehicle, such as cell phones, food, pets, makeup, and other passengers
  • Those that are external to the vehicle, such as signs, displays, and roadside stands
  • Those that are internal to the driver’s mind, such as daydreaming, ongoing thoughts, and zoning out

There are also different types of distractions that a driver can engage in. These distractions put drivers at risk for an accident and diverts their attention away from the road.

Visual Distractions: These cause drivers to look somewhere other than the road and can include the following:

  • Electronic devices, such as cell phones
  • Changing the music
  • Looking for an item that fell on the floor
  • Reading billboards
  • Looking in the mirror
  • Rubbernecking

Auditory Distractions: When a driver hears something that is not related to the task of driving, including:

  • Engine noises
  • Crying children
  • Outside noises

Manual Distractions: Controlling and touching something other than the steering wheel. Anything that removes your hands from the wheel is a manual distraction, which includes:

  • Texting
  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Smoking
  • Personal grooming

Cognitive Distractions: Thinking about something other than driving that causes you to lose focus, such as:

  • Listening to the radio
  • Talking on the phone
  • Talking to a fellow passenger
  • Reprimanding children
  • Tiredness
  • Stress

Texting is the distraction that causes the most accidents to occur. Texting requires a driver to focus their visual, manual, and cognitive attention toward a phone rather than the road ahead. This makes texting while driving extremely dangerous and causes the most motor vehicle crashes. It only takes a few seconds of looking at your phone to end up in a scary situation. Many states passed laws that ban the use of a cell phone while driving to try and lower the accident rate. Texting has become a serious problem and will only continue to get worse if nothing is done to stop it.

Drunk driving is also a dangerous distraction that is responsible for car accidents and fatalities. A drivers visual, manual, and cognitive skills are decreased due to intoxication and the ability to make split-second decisions is significantly reduced. Driving while intoxicated is never the right decision as it puts many lives at risk.

Hands-Free Devices

Cell phone use quadruples the risk of accidents and places a safety concern for drivers on the road. Many drivers believe that hands-free devices are safe to use while driving; this assumption is incorrect. Hands-free devices are not risk free and are no safer than handheld devices. Anything that takes your attention away from driving is a distraction.

Consequences of Distractions

Distraction is hard to manage and becomes more of a habit than a spontaneous act. Driving while distracted can cause accidents, injuries, and death. Driving distracted is a dangerous act that most drivers participate in. Some consequences of distracted driving include:

  • Being involved in an accident
  • Traffic tickets
  • Car repair bills
  • Criminal sentences
  • Increased insurance
  • Loss of driving privileges
  • Serious injury or death

The task of driving should always have your full attention to ensure safety on the roads. Any non-driving activity that you participate in while operating a vehicle puts you and everyone else at a risk.

Distraction Prevention Tips

Accidents, injuries, and fatalities caused by distracted driving are devastating, but there are ways to prevent these situations from happening in the future. If you need to send a text or make a phone call, find a safe place to pull over. This will reduce the likelihood of becoming distracted and maintain safety on the roads. Always concentrate on your driving and plan your route in advance to avoid having to look for road signs and exits. Also, recognize what makes you distracted while in the car and think about how you would feel if you saw another driver doing the same thing. If you are triggered by this thought, then that distraction should not be something you participate in.

Teenagers are the future of driving and need to understand the dangers of driving distracted. Teens are encouraged to speak up when they see a peer driving while distracted and be vocal on social media about how dangerous distracted driving is. It is also important for parents to lead by example and never drive distracted. Talk with your teenage drivers about the consequences of driving distracted.

Car companies are also doing their part to help prevent distracted driving. Attention assist has been placed in vehicles to monitor drowsiness in drivers based on their steering wheel movement. This system will emit audible and visual warnings to the driver. Car companies have also implemented a safety system where infotainment systems will read your texts out loud when they come through the phone. This allows the driver to continue safe driving habits.

Phone Applications Help Prevent Distracted Driving

In addition to the strives being made by car companies and future drivers, there are also phone applications that have been created to help prevent distracted driving and phone use. Some of these applications include:

  • AT&T Drive Mode: Available for both iOS and Android, this application detects when your car starts moving and automatically replies to texts that come through during your trip. These replies will state that you are driving and will answer once it is safe to do so. This is great for young drivers as parents can be notified if their child has turned off the application.
  • Down for the Count: This application is a great way to promote safe driving between your friends and family. The app allows drivers to set up a safe driving goal and will track your phone use behind the wheel. Incentives are given if you hit your goal and you can team up with other people to help them set a goal as well.
  • LifeSaver: Once you start driving, this application turns on and shows a lock screen on your phone, preventing you from using it. Once you arrived safely, you are free to use your phone again. Drivers will still be able to receive calls and set certain necessary exceptions.

Laws

Laws have been passed in the recent decade that attempt to prevent distracted driving. In 2012, then Governor Chris Christie signed the Kulesh, Kubert, Bolis’ Law that specifies clear penalties for drivers who cause severe injury or death because of cell phone use. The state of New Jersey also initiated the “U Drive. U Text. U Pay” campaign in April 2019 to spread awareness of National Distracted Driving Month and its consequences.

Freehold Car Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Fight for the Rights of Distracted Driving Victims

Distracted driving is a deadly problem and needs to be rectified before more lives are taken. If you were injured in a car accident due to the negligence of a distracted driver, contact the Freehold car accident lawyers at Ellis Law for a free consultation. Our dedicated team of accident lawyers will help you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 732-308-0200 or fill out an online form for a free consultation.

Located in Freehold, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn and New York, New York.