Distracted driving has always been a concern, but this is even more so the case in today's world with access to so much technology.
As a driver, you have full control over every decision you make when you're behind the wheel. So, if you don't want to pick up your cellphone and send a text, you don't have to.
Conversely, you don't have control over other drivers. Another person may decide to partake in a distraction, thus putting him- or herself and everyone else on the road at risk of an accident.
Here are the three primary forms of distracted driving:
- Manual distraction. Anything that requires you to take one or both hands off the steering wheel fits into this category. An example includes using one hand to reach for a cellphone and the other to control your vehicle.
- Visual distraction. Taking your eyes off the road for any reason is a big mistake, as something bad can happen in a second. There are many distractions in your vehicle, but you need to ignore them while driving.
- Cognitive distraction. The longer you're driving, the more difficult it becomes to focus on the task at hand. A cognitive distraction is one that has you thinking about something else, such as what you're going to do this weekend or how to best approach an upcoming business meeting.
Now that you understand the primary forms of distracted driving, let's examine some top tips for avoiding trouble:
- Turn off your cellphone until you reach your destination
- Let passengers know that you need to focus on the road at all times
- Eat or drink before you get behind the wheel
- Set your GPS and radio in advance
Also, make sure you're always paying attention to other drivers. If you see someone sending a text, keep your distance just in case he or she makes a sudden move.
If a distracted driver involves you in an accident, your first order of business is to check yourself and your passengers for injuries.
From there, move to safety and call 911. Once you receive treatment, consult with your insurance company, learn more about the cause of the crash and formulate a plan for protecting your legal rights.