April is the National Safety Council’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving caused 3,477 deaths in 2015. Any activity that takes your attention from driving is distracting. Some distractions are unavoidable, but most are not. Here are 4 ways to reduced distracted driving:
- Put the Phone Down. Texting, looking at social media, researching where to go for lunch, and other activities associated with smartphones are major causes of distracted driving deaths and injuries. In most states, using your phone or texting while driving is illegal. While we can communicate with anyone or look up anything with the touch of our fingertips, it is better to keep your eyes on your road and your hands on the wheel.
- Minimize Passenger and Activity Distractions. If you have passengers, get them to agree to help you focus on driving. While driving with friends is fun, if passengers are doing things to distract you, then you may want to limit the number of passengers you have.
- Pull Over to Eat. In our car culture with drive-through restaurants on every other corner, eating has become customary in our cars. It is also dangerous. Trying to get that burger or taco in your mouth without getting sauce or lettuce all over your new pants creates a major distraction. A safer practice is to pull over while you eat. It may take a little longer to get where you want to go, but if you prevent an accident, you will be happy you took the time.
- Get dressed and groomed at home. How many times have we seen someone in traffic tying a tie, applying lipstick, shaving, or some other similar activity while driving? Many times, these folks are looking at the rearview mirror while primping. Not only is the person distracted, he or she does not have both hands on the wheel and can not watch the road. Get up earlier or leave later so that you have more time to get ready. If you are running late, use the mirror in your workplace bathroom to get ready. Vanity should not cause you to injure yourself or others.
Following graduation from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University, Eric Stevenson held a number of positions including Assistant State Attorney in the First Judicial Circuit of Florida. Eric has been practicing with partner Christopher Klotz since 2015 litigating personal injury and car accidents in Alabama and Florida.