Distracted driving has become one of the most concerning dangers on public roads. Although driver distraction has been around for as long as there have been automobiles, today’s level of distraction behind the wheel has become a problem of epidemic proportions – and it causes thousands of preventable injuries and deaths each year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), hundreds of thousands of Americans are injured in distracted driving accidents each year. Because this is such an alarming statistic, lawmakers and safety officials have worked to pass tough laws that limit the risks of distracted driving accidents. In Nevada, for example, handheld devices and text messaging are banned for all drivers.
Although all forms of distracted driving are dangerous – including using a cellphone, eating or drinking, personal grooming, reading maps, or adjusting electronics – text messaging is considered the most dangerous form. This is because it commands a driver’s visual, manual, and cognitive attention simultaneously, and can increase your risk of being in an accident by as much as 23 times, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI).
At Shook & Stone, we know distracted drivers can devastate the lives of victims and their families, and we want all Las Vegas residents to be safe when sharing the road with others. In several of our previous blogs, we have discussed Nevada’s texting laws and why hands-free devices are not risk-free devices. Now, we want to help you avoid distraction behind the wheel.
Below are a few important tips to help you prevent distracted driving:
- Prepare Beforehand – One of the best ways to prevent distraction behind the wheel is to give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your trip. Make sure you have everything you need and that you won’t need to search or reach for items while driving. Also make sure you know where you’re headed before you get onto the road and adjust your seat and mirrors. If you need to re-evaluate directions, have a passenger look it up for you or pull to the side of the road in order to use your phone or read a map.
- Resist Your Phone – Taking your eyes off the road even for a second places yourself and everyone around you at risk. Understand that any text messages or e-mails can wait. If something is truly urgent, make sure to pull safely off the road so as not to endanger others.
- Secure Loose Items – Make sure to secure any loose items in your vehicle – including food and drink bottles – so that they can’t become loose during your trip and pose a distraction. In serious cases, loose items can even become lodged in between brake or gas pedals.
- Food & Grooming – Eating and drinking and personal grooming are some of the most common forms of distracted driving. Give yourself the time you need to eat and get fully dressed and ready before getting in the car.
- Make Driving Your Number 1 Focus – Whenever you’re behind the wheel, make sure you make driving your top priority. Obey the rules of the road and do your part in keeping everyone safe by resisting distractions.
If you have questions about pursuing a personal injury claim after being injured in an auto accident – including accidents caused by distracted drivers – call Shook & Stone to speak personally with a lawyer.