Driving a vehicle can become routine, especially if you take the same route to work or school every day. You don’t even have to think about putting on your seatbelt anymore because it’s become as automatic as starting your engine. Of course, you know speeding can be dangerous and driving impaired can be deadly, but how often do you drive distracted?
Distracted driving resulted in more than 3,000 deaths in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (Source: NHTSA.gov)
If you’ve ever passed an oncoming car only to see the top of the driver’s head instead of his face, you know how scary it is to be the only driver watching the road. Distracted driving includes more than using a mobile phone though. Any activity or person that takes your full attention away from safe driving has the potential to result in an accident or worse. Now is the time to create a distraction-free driving routine to keep you and your passengers safe.
1. Turn on “Do Not Disturb”
We are all tempted to look at our phones when we hear that familiar beep or ring tone. We wonder who has just texted or whether that incoming call is important. The best way to avoid the temptation to sneak a peek at your phone is to turn on the “Do Not Disturb” feature before you leave your parking space. Your phone might also have the option of sending an auto-reply that tells people you’re driving right now and will see their message when you’re done. It’s estimated that reading a text takes your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds, which at highway speeds is the same as driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed! (Source: NHTSA.gov)
2. Be Ready to Drive
Multitasking is dangerous when driving. Be completely ready for your day before getting in the car. Your commute is not the time to apply make-up, fix hair, or finish eating breakfast. These distractions take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel. Make sure you’re allowing enough time in the morning to get ready so that your driving time isn’t compromised. It can be as simple as waking up 15 minutes earlier, packing your lunch the night before, or using the pre-set timer on your coffee machine.
3. Select Music Ahead of Time
If you don’t have a passenger who can help control the drive-time music, then set it up before heading down the road. Selecting a radio station or podcast while driving can take your eyes off the road as much as a phone can do. Doing this beforehand is especially important if you don’t have controls on your steering wheel to adjust stations or volume levels.
4. Set Rules with Children
Even if your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the steering wheel, your mind also needs to be focused on driving. Talk with your children about the importance of safe driving and develop rules that fit your family. Make sure they know never to throw things in the car and to always stay buckled in their seats. Set up any video or game devices before leaving. Ask older children to help out the younger children so you can give your full attention to driving safely.
Call The James Law Firm
Distracted driving accidents are preventable, but you cannot control other drivers. The James Law Firm has the experience, compassion, and knowledge needed to tackle even the most complex vehicular injury accidents. If you have been injured anywhere in Iowa, don’t hesitate to call us today at 515-246-8484. We represent clients in Des Moines, Davenport/Quad Cities, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, and more. We will travel to help you!