Top Ten Causes of Distracted Driving
On March 29, 2018, the Georgia General Assembly approved House Bill 673. This bill will prohibit certain activities, especially ones involving technological devices, from taking place behind the wheel.
You will now be prohibited from holding or supporting a telecommunications or electronic device; you will not be allowed to write, send or read a text-based communication while holding the device, and you cannot reach for the device or watch some type of video in the vehicle that is not related to its navigation. Recording a video while driving is also not allowed. Drivers may utilize handheld electronic devices in cases of emergency or hazardous road conditions.
The purpose behind this bill is to reduce distracted driving. When a driver attempts to complete a task separate from driving, they are not focusing their attention on the road ahead. This has become the leading cause of accidents across the country. Certain actions performed while driving are considered to be more distracting than others. These include:
1. Consuming Food or Beverage
This is the number one distraction behind the wheel. Eating and drinking are more dangerous than many people believe, given the number who reportedly take part in the behaviors. If you get up too late to eat or feel like you need to grab your coffee and go, think twice. You can always have your meal when you arrive at your destination.
From reaching over to turn up the volume, to hitting skip so you can hear the next song, music is another leading cause of distracted driving. Singing along at the top of your lungs with your favorite band may seem like a good way to stay alert, but it is actually taking your attention away from the road. Dancing has also been known to cause accidents. The next time you feel like you simply can’t drive a foot down the road without listening to something, opt for quiet, classical music or an audiobook and keep your hands on the wheel.
3. Cell Phones
Talking to friends, family and other contacts is a culprit when it comes to cell phone use behind the wheel. It has become such a problem that many states are making it illegal to use a phone in any capacity while driving. Experts recommend placing your phone out of reach and turning off the ringer so you aren’t tempted. If you absolutely must reach out and talk to someone, pull over first.
4. Outside Distractions
We’ve all seen that unlucky commuter pulled over on the side of the road. Many of us have passed flashing lights at an accident scene. Despite the temptation to look at what’s going on, keep your eyes on the road ahead. You are putting others at risk, even if you slow down before you take a look.
Texting is a huge problem in more ways than one. We will stick to the issue at hand, though. Texting while driving, even using voice-to-text, is extremely dangerous. You can’t keep both hands on the wheel, check your messages and reply to them while maintaining your focus on the road… really, you can’t. Very few things in life are important enough to put your life in danger so save the texting for when you are stopped.
You may be surprised that seatbelts are a distraction when driving. It’s not the act of wearing a seatbelt that diverts your focus, but the act of fumbling for it while you are driving. If you forgot to secure your seatbelt before you pulled out of your driveway or parking space, you should always take a few moments to buckle it before you put your car in drive.
Being tired or falling asleep behind the wheel is a cause for distraction. If you haven’t been getting enough sleep, chances are that you aren’t awake enough to drive. Don’t think that a quick cat nap before you take off is adequate. You need at least 6 to 8 hours of rest before you head out for the day. If you are going on vacation and plan on driving through the night, make sure you take a good nap before you leave. You should also always try to ride with a person who can take over the wheel if you get too tired.
8. New Cars
A new car is certainly not distracting, is it? It can be. If you don’t take the time to learn the controls of your new vehicle or how it handles, you could very well be distracted. Familiarize yourself with your new car before you drive, or only drive it during the day until you’ve had the time get to know it.
If you wear makeup, put it on at home. A quick touch-up is dangerous enough, but some drivers admit to putting on their whole face while driving down the road. It is impossible to put on makeup without taking your eyes off the road. By the time you notice a hazard in front of you, if you notice one at all, it could be too late.
10. Social Media
Tweeting, Snapchatting, Instagramming, and updating your Facebook status is dangerous, if you are doing it while driving. It’s shocking to think of the number of people who do it anyway. There is nothing that you are doing behind the wheel that everyone needs to know about. Save it for later.
Distracted driving is a top cause of accidents across the country. Keep in mind that every time you get behind the wheel, you are operating a piece of machinery that could severely injure or kill someone else. Driving takes your full concentration; everything else can wait.
If you are involved in a vehicle collision caused by a distracted driver in Atlanta, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your injuries and property damage. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free case evaluation and discover more about your legal options.