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Distracted Driving Awareness Month – What You Need to Know

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents on our roadways. According to the National Safety Council, 40,000 people were killed on US roadways last year. Distracted driving is a major contributing factor to these accidents.

April was named Distracted Driving Awareness month to raise awareness and help people recognize and eliminate distracted driving practices.

What is distracted driving?

Distracted driving is the practice of driving while performing another activity or task. The most common form of distracted driving is texting while driving, but there are many other forms as well. Messing with the radio, eating, or just talking to another driver while driving all fall under the distracted driving category.

3 Types of Distracted Driving:

In order to eliminate distracted driving practices, it’s important to understand the different types of distracted driving and how they affect your ability to drive safely.

Distracted driving typically falls within at least one of three categories: cognitive, visual, or manual distraction.

Cognitive

Cognitive distraction refers to when a driver is mentally preoccupied with a task other than driving, causing them to take their focus off the road. Cognitive distractions include talking to another passenger, using a hands-free cell phone device, or even thinking deeply about something other than driving.

Visual

A visual distraction is anything that takes your eyes off the road. Looking at your GPS, checking your phone, or turning to look at someone in the back seat are all examples of visual driving distractions.

Manual

Manual distraction refers to anything that causes a driver to take one or both hands off the wheel. Some common examples include eating or drinking, adjusting radio or other dashboard controls, and grabbing something from a purse or wallet.

Some activities, such as texting while driving, fall under all three categories of distracted driving. Activities that fall under all 3 categories are especially dangerous to you and other drivers around you.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted Driving Awareness Month is a time to recognize and eradicate distracted driving practices to help improve the safety of our roadways. Here are a few tips for avoiding distracted driving this month and beyond:

  • Turn off your cell phone, or put it on Do Not Disturb mode. No text message or phone call is worth your life, or the life of another person.
  • Hands-free devices are the next best option after turning off your cell phone. However, you should only use these devices in the event of an emergency.
  • Don’t eat while driving. If you need to eat, park while you eat or wait until you get to your destination to eat.
  • Make sure your climate controls, radio volume, and other settings are all to your liking before you get on the road. This will prevent you from messing with dashboard controls while driving. You should also program your GPS before hitting the road.
  • If you’re travelling with children or pets, make sure they are safely and securely strapped into their carseats or pet carriers.

Distracted driving won’t disappear overnight, but Distracted Driving Awareness Month gives us a chance to examine our driving behavior and make positive changes to make our roads safer. This April, take the pledge to NOT be a distracted driver.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to distracted driving, our team of experienced lawyers and legal professionals can help. Call us at (843) 552-6011 or reach us online for a free initial consultation.