Distracted driving is a major hazard for motorists. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,522 lives were lost in distracted driving collisions in 2021 – representing 8 percent of all fatal accidents in the U.S. In the modern age of multitasking, hyper-productivity and technology, it is easy to fall into the habit of dedicating less than 100 percent of your attention to driving. Follow these tips our Denver car accident lawyers share to keep yourself and others safe.
Use Apps to Avoid Texting and Driving
Cell phone use is by far the most common type of distracted driving. Many states, including Colorado, have passed cell phone laws to try to prevent this dangerous driver distraction. You can reduce the temptation of texting, emailing, browsing social media and otherwise manually manipulating your cell phone behind the wheel by using driving-mode apps.
Many cell phones have car modes that can be enabled in the Settings menu. If not, you can download a safe-driving app that restricts the use of your phone while you are driving. For example, with the Google Maps app, you can use the GPS and launch Google Assistant Driving Mode to automatically complete actions for you while you drive. This includes making calls, sending messages and listening to music.
Avoid Other Manual Distractions
Cell phones and electronic devices are the most popular form of manual distraction – something that takes a driver’s hands off of the wheel – but there are many other examples, as well. This includes personal grooming, such as combing your hair or applying makeup. Familiarize yourself with a vehicle’s controls before driving, as well, to avoid having to use your hands to fiddle with the radio or air conditioning.
Control Your Passengers
Passengers can be very distracting, especially if they talk a lot, sing loudly or try to show you things on a phone. Do not be afraid to set rules for your passengers to limit distractions. This is especially important for young drivers, as they are less experienced and can be more easily distracted by their friends in the vehicle.
It is also important to take precautions to avoid distraction if you are driving with children or pets in your vehicle, such as securing them before driving and safely pulling over if you need to care for them rather than reaching into the backseat while driving.
Do Not Eat or Drink While Driving
Although “fast food” chains have been designed with drive-thru windows and food containers that easily fit in a vehicle’s cupholders, eating and drinking while driving is a dangerous behavior that could cause serious car accidents. Avoid eating on the road; if you wish to pick up food on the go, wait until you are safely parked or back at home to eat and drink.
Recognize the Dangers of Daydreaming
Cognitive distractions while driving can be just as dangerous as manual or visual distractions (things that take a driver’s eyes off the road). If a driver’s thoughts and attention are not on the driving task, this could delay the driver’s reflexes and ability to react to changing roadway situations in time to prevent a collision.
Learn how to recognize when your mind is wandering, such as if you are cognitively distracted by a conversation you just had, a fight with a loved one, stress from work or school, or feeling sad or depressed. You may also find yourself mentally distracted if you are drowsy or fatigued. In these situations, pull over to rest and refocus on the driving task before you continue your journey.
If you get into a car accident where you suspect the other driver of distracted driving, contact a Denver personal injury lawyer at Manning Law for a free case evaluation to discuss your legal rights.