Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents across the United States. According to the federal government, more than 3,000 people are killed every year as a direct result of distracted driving crashes.
Furthermore, several reports indicate that cell phone usage is one of the leading causes of distracted driving accidents. What many people do not realize is that using a cell phone while driving is equivalent to driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent, which is illegal in many states across the country – including Georgia.
Types of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is negligent behavior and although cell phone usage has been described as the leading cause of distracted driving across the country, it is not the only culprit. In fact, there are three primary types of distracted driving and I will discuss each of them below.
- Visual Distractions
Visual distractions are one of the most common causes of distracted driving that result in fatal accidents on U.S roads.
- Using a GPS
- Using a mirror (usually to apply makeup),
- Tuning the car radio
- Adjusting the vehicle’s temperature control, and
- Glancing in the back seat to take something or talk to someone
- Manual Distractions
Manual distractions are equally as dangerous as visual distractions. Manual distractions take one or both of your hands off the wheel of the vehicle.
Examples of manual distractions include:
- Holding food or drinks
- Smoking cigarettes (which requires you use a lighter occasionally)
- Fiddling with a seatbelt
- Brushing your hair, or
- Searching for a purse or wallet for something
If you are driving alone and it is absolutely necessary for you to temporarily drive with one hand, ensure your other hand is free to grab the wheel in case of an emergency.
Otherwise, ask your passengers to help adjust whatever it is you want to do, thereby preventing an accident and keeping you, your passengers and other road users safe.
- Cognitive Distractions
Whenever a driver’s cognitive abilities have been impaired, they are prone to distraction even if their hands are on the wheel and they are looking ahead at the road. These kinds of distractions take the driver’s focus completely off the road and usually cause accidents with high fatality rates.
The most common examples include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or both
- Fighting or arguing with someone whether in the car or over the phone – even when using hands-free mode
- Being stressed or thinking about other unrelated things as opposed to focusing on the driving
- Road rage, drowsiness and daydreaming
Whenever you feel you have had too much to drink or your emotions are running high due to an intense argument, the most responsible thing to do would be to pull over and address the issue before causing an accident.
Tools and Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
The best way to prevent distracted driving-related accidents is to embrace safety precautions.
Common sense: These are simple precautions you can take to ensure you (and your passengers) are safe.
- Use your mobile phone for emergencies only (a life or death situation). Otherwise, pull over.
- Avoid taking on too many passengers because this might cause a distraction. This is especially true for teenage drivers.
- Do not drink under the influence. It is a crime in Georgia, punishable by fines and possibly jail time. In some serious crash cases, it could cause numerous fatalities.
- If you feel drowsy while driving, pull over. Whether it is from stress or tiredness, a drowsy driver is a distracted driver.
- Avoid multitasking while driving.
Cell Phone Blocking Technology: With smartphones being the largest cause of distracted driving across the United States, it is only natural for it to be the one device to keep people safe as well. By blocking mobile phone usage while driving, distracted driving apps aim to keep drivers focused on the road instead of their phones. The most common of these apps are:
- LifeSaver: This app uses GPS a combination of monitoringand rewards system to help drivers break addictive and dangerous distracted driving habits. The app automatically blocks the ability for drivers to use a mobile phone while driving. Parents who want to monitor their teen’s driving habits can use this app; additionally, commercial fleet managers can also use this app to monitor their drivers’ behavior on the job.
- AT&T’s DriveMode: This app helps keep drivers safe from distraction by blocking phone calls or text messages while driving. The app can be further set up to automatically start once the driver exceeds 15 MPH. There are additional options to notify parents or bosses whenever a driver deactivates the app, or if certain settings are changed.
Regardless of the distraction-driving app you choose, the most important thing is that you are taking an actionable step towards safety. Using your cell phone as a safety tool instead of a distraction will keep you and other road users safe.
If you become injured as a direct result of someone else’s negligence behind the wheel, then you could be entitled to compensation. Contact us today if you need a free case evaluation.