April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Distracted driving is a growing problem on our roadways. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, 3,328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2012 alone.
Distraction.gov, the official U.S. Government website for distracted driving, reports that there are three types of distraction experienced while driving. Manual (taking your hands off the wheel), Visual (taking your eyes off the road) and Cognitive (taking your mind off driving). Experts say texting while driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distraction, because it involves manual, visual and cognitive distraction simultaneously.
During the month of April, the California Highway Patrol and local police officers are cracking down on people talking on cell phones or texting while driving throughout California. They will be looking for any forms of distracted driving. Here are eight tips to help keep you safe:
Practice defensive driving
When you’re behind the wheel, you need to fully focus on driving. Actively scan the road, use your mirrors and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
Keep distractions out of reach
Avoid having anything loose on your backseat or floorboards while driving. You may be tempted to reach for unsecured items, causing a distraction. Power down or stow any electronic devices before you head out.
Make adjustments before you leave
If you need to adjust any vehicle systems like the GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls or sound system, do it before hitting the road. Decide on your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
Get ready at home
Shaving, putting on jewelry or applying makeup behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster. Finish dressing and personal grooming at home before you leave.
Don’t eat while driving
Eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. If you must visit a drive-thru, pull the car over to eat before continuing your trip. If you have to eat on the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
Secure children and pets
If anyone in the vehicle needs your attention during a trip, pull off the road to care for them. Reaching into the back seat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle.
Avoid cell phones
Using cell phones while driving – either handheld or hands-free – is dangerous. Only do so during an emergency. Never access text messaging, email functions, video games or the Internet while driving.
If you have passengers, ask for help with minimizing distractions so you can focus on driving safely. If you are alone and another activity demands your attention, pull off the road in order to deal with it.
If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, please contact us at 949-496-7000. The first call is always free and we will be sure to get back to you within 24 hours. Additionally, visit our page on vehicle accidents to learn more.