Distracted Driving 101
Distracted driving claims thousands of lives each year, yet it routinely remains one of the top causes of car accidents annually.
What Is It?
When we think of distracted driving, texting and driving is the example that tends to rush to the front of our minds. It is true, texting and driving is the most common form of distraction, and it is also one of the most dangerous because of the amount of focus it takes away from your driving. If you are driving 55 mph down the road, and you stare at your phone for only 5 seconds, you will have driven the entire length of a football field without paying attention to your surroundings.
However, distracted driving is more than just texting. It is any activity that takes your attention away from what you are doing--driving. This can be talking on the phone, eating and drinking, fiddling with the radio, conversing with other passengers in the car, messing with the navigation system, or any literal thing that causes driving not to have your full attention.
The Four Types
There are four categories of distracted driving that any task will fall in.
- Visual – an action that causes you to look at something other than the road.
- Auditory – Focusing your attention on hearing something not related to driving.
- Manual – A task that forces you to manipulate something other than the steering wheel.
- Cognitive – A particularly emotional or stressful topic that makes you think about something other than driving.
In the past decade, an estimated 30,000+ people have died in car crashes caused by distracted driving. In recent years, nearly 10% of all crashes that took place involved distracted drivers.
If the risk of your life is not enough, the fines may be. 48 states, including North Carolina, have implemented laws in recent years to make it illegal to text or perform other distracting tasks while you are behind the wheel. Should you risk it, you could receive a hefty fine from a ticket as a result, and your insurance premiums will increase too.
Tips to Stay Focused
There are several proactive things that you can do to keep the tempting distractions at bay and improve your focus on the task at hand.
1. Purchase a Phone Dock
To help keep your phone out of your hands or lap, purchase a dock to place your phone in. This makes it easier to follow directions if you are using your phone’s navigation functions and also keeps the biggest culprit of distracted driving out of reach.
2. Keep the Radio Volume Low
Jamming to your favorite songs in the car can be very fun. However, when performing a full-blown concert in your vehicle, you are dramatically increasing your risk of crashing. Additionally, it makes it very difficult to hear emergency vehicles trying to get around you safely.
3. Don’t Have Heavy Conversations
Obviously, whenever you have other passengers in the car with you, it is expected that you will converse with them. However, try to steer clear of conversations that could get heated or too emotionally charged. If conversations start heading in a stressful direction, suggest you change to a different topic.
We are Here to Help
The team at Benoit Law Firm, PLLC wants to be here for you. If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, you have the right to seek compensation. Additionally, if your loved one lost their life due to a distracted driver, you deserve justice for the wrongful death. Our team has helped many others in similar situations, and we may be able to help you, too. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our office with any questions you may have.
Call the Charlotte lawyers at Benoit Law Firm, PLLC today at (877) 909-4088 to speak with an attorney about your case.