Distracted driving is a major issue across America and it only seems to be getting worse. Pushing limits has always been an American trait but driving patterns are becoming riskier, according to new reports by AAA. And cell phones are often to blame. After all, cell phone usage while driving is up 57% since 2014 even though 16 states now ban all types of driving-related cell phone activity. But are cell phones really the main cause and what can you do to avoid being a victim of a distracted driving accident?
Know Where You’re Going Before You Leave
Smartphones and apps make it easier than ever to plan your adventure before leaving your home or office. But checking on the road can be a recipe for disaster. If you need to plot or plan a route to your destination, do so before getting in your vehicle–or at least before driving. And if you have to check the route or make adjustments on the road pull over. It’s better to get there a few minutes late than not at all.
You can’t control other drivers’ actions on the road, but you can control your own. A simple way to get to your destination safely is to avoid multitasking while driving. That means primp, do your hair, apply makeup, and get dressed at home or the office. Eat at home or pull over to finish a meal or snack. Wait to smoke if you have that habit. And avoid fiddling too much with radio buttons or reaching over for fallen items.
Limit the Passengers
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, distraction is the cause of 60% of teen-related accidents and passenger interaction is responsible for around 15% of those crashes. Teen drivers do need to learn and practice their driving skills with an experienced legal driver in the car. But extra passengers in the vehicle greatly increase the risk of requiring the assistance of a Michigan distracted driving attorney.
Get Enough Rest
Any type of machinery requires the operator to be well rested to ensure the task is safe and efficient, and cars are no different. The average modern automobile weighs well over 4000 pounds today, and sleep-deprived drivers put themselves and other travelers at risk for becoming a victim of a distracted driving accident. Tired drivers are more likely to multitask with vehicle controls, drink or eat in the vehicle, sing or talk to other passengers, and even make phone calls to keep themselves awake.
Continuously Practice Defensive Driving
The term “defensive driving” gets a bad rap, but it’s actually the most sensible thing you can do as a responsible driver. Defensive driving is a technique which incorporates actively applying and maintaining many safe practices behind the wheel. These can include maintaining proper vehicle distance, controlling speed, being respectful to other drivers, scanning your surroundings and being prepared for the unexpected, and avoiding distractions.
Stay Off Hand-Held Technology While Driving
Cell phones are problematic when used behind the wheel and they are the main technological cause of distracted driving accidents. However, any type of hand-held or adjustable technology can be detrimental to even a seasoned driver. This includes items already in or belonging to the car itself. Avoid texting or talking on the phone, of course, even hands-free. But also avoid playing video games, adjusting controls for music or programs, and adjusting or programming GPS options while driving. Playing it safe just may help you avoid needing to contact a Michigan distracted driving attorney.