4 Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving

According to car industry analysts, the average driver files a collision claim around once every 18 years. For most drivers that translates to three or four serious accidents in their lifetime. And drivers who get their license at the age of 16 often have at least one accident by the time they’re 34. Of course, those statistics can be way off base for inexperienced, reckless or easily distracted drivers. That may not seem like bad odds until you realize over 40,000 road-related fatalities occurred in 2017 alone and many of those were due to a distracted driving accident. The term accident is often misleading as the majority of car crashes are due to human error, and the top one involves distracted driving. Fortunately, there are a few effective tips for avoiding such an accident and helping to ensure everyone gets to their destination in one piece.

Organize Your Stuff Prior to Driving

Distracted accidents occur when the driver takes their eyes or mind off the road to focus on something else. While that can occur outside the vehicle, it usually occurs inside. Quick stops, sudden U-turns, and uneven or rough road conditions can cause items in the car to fall or scatter. Even a quick grab of a tube of lipstick or pen on the floor or in the glove compartment can lead to chaos. Once the driver looks away to find or grab their belongings, their focus is off the road and trouble often ensues. So organize your belongings prior to putting the car in drive.

Limit the Passengers and Put Them to Work

New drivers, especially teens, should always limit vehicle passengers to one at the most. And that passenger should be a parent or responsible adult driver. However, what should happen and what does happen are often two completely different things. Teens love to show off and compete with their peers while experienced drivers often are required to haul around multiple passengers due to family and life requirements. The more passengers in the vehicle, the more noise and distraction likely which leads to higher accident risks. Make a car rule to keep noise to a minimum and give your passengers tasks. One can be responsible for checking for weather or traffic, another can handle the GPS, send confirmation texts, and so on. That will help keep the driver focused on the road.

Leave Early and Primp Prior to Driving

Life gets busy and some people struggle just to manage their time. That can lead to speeding, road rage, and lots of multitasking while driving. Eating and drinking, fiddling with radio buttons, and grooming can all lead to a distracted driving accident. Always try to leave early enough so you can pull over and eat if necessary. Apply makeup, hair products, and scents prior to driving. And avoid rummaging through bags or cases for items that can take your eyes off the road.

Turn Off the Cell Phone

Each state has its own rules regarding cell phone usage while driving, and most either have a blanket ban or ban it for non-emergency needs. Texting or talking on the phone is the most dangerous form of distracted driving as it combines all three types of distraction: visual (eyes off the road), manual (hands off the wheel), and cognitive (removing the focus from driving). Unless the cell phone GPS is absolutely required, it should be turned off prior to each trip. And even if GPS is required, text and phone options can be muted or temporarily blocked until you arrive safely to your destination. Following a few simple tips will not only help you avoid a call to your Michigan auto accident attorney… they can also save your life.