With sophisticated dashboards and smartphones at our fingertips, distracted driving has become a significant problem in the United States. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every day, about 8 U.S. residents are killed in traffic collisions in which distracted driving played a role.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2021, which means that there is no better time than now to take action to mitigate these statistics and make the road a safer place. To support the cause, read The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm’s 8 tips on how to stay attentive while driving and prevent car accidents.
8 Tips to Reduce Distracted Driving
- Put Away Your Phone
Texting and talking on the phone while driving can be extremely distracting, which is why it is illegal in Illinois to do so. While state law does allow drivers age 19 and older to use hands-free devices, this can still be dangerous because your attention will be on the subject matter of the text/call, not on the road. The best way to eliminate this distraction is to put your phone away in your bag, glove box, or somewhere else that you cannot easily reach while driving.
- Don’t Eat while Driving
Eating and driving is more dangerous than you may think, as it requires you to have one hand away from the steering wheel to hold the food. If a vehicle swerves into your lane or you need to execute a quick maneuver at a second’s notice to avoid an accident, you will likely not have time to put your food down to do so. To be safe, wait until you get to your destination to eat.
- Secure Bags and Items so They Don’t Fall
When items fall, they take our attention off the road. Make sure that any and all bags and items are in a safe place where they will not easily roll around or fall over. For example, if you have a drink, make sure it fits securely in the cupholder; if you have a bag, stow it away in the trunk or backseat.
- Avoid Reaching for Fallen Items
If your items do happen to fall, do not attempt to reach for them if you can help it. It is not at all uncommon for drivers to accidentally turn the steering wheel as they reach for a fallen item, causing them to run into the median, guardrail, or other vehicles.
- Don’t Drive while Fatigued
If you are feeling tired, it is best to refrain from driving until you get some rest. This may mean asking a friend or family member to run an errand, running that errand tomorrow, or pulling off the road to rest for a bit. Don’t gamble with your safety and the safety of others; dozing off while behind the wheel can lead to severe and fatal accidents.
- Try to Put Stress on Pause
Sometimes, it is inevitable for stress to follow us around and negatively impact our alertness. Take some time to breathe and look around before you start driving. If you are feeling really out of sorts and as though you cannot pay attention to the road, kindly ask a friend for a ride or use a rideshare app. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
- Plan Your Drive Ahead of Time
If you have ever tried to drive while using a navigation app, you are likely aware of how distracting they can be. Try to review your route before you get on the road and turn on alerts so you can hear the directions instead of having to look down at your phone or dash to know where you need to go.
- Pull Over if You Need to
Remember that pulling over is always an option if you find yourself having a hard time keeping your attention on the road or if you need to check your phone, pick up a fallen item, eat, rest, or take a minute to calm down.
About The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm
The Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm is a Charleston-based practice with more than 100 years of collective experience. Our attorneys only represent the plaintiffs in personal injury cases because we believe that no one should get away with negligence, particularly when that negligence caused another person to suffer a life-altering injury. If you have been injured in an accident involving a careless, distracted, or otherwise negligent motorist, contact our esteemed Charleston firm online for a free consultation.