Distracted driving has become an enormous problem in the United States.
According to data provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), nearly 3,500 Americans lose their lives in distracted driving accidents each year.
Many tens of thousands of more people suffer devastating, life-changing injuries.
Drivers in New York and around the country need to get better at avoiding distractions while they are behind the wheel. Indeed, all drivers in our state have a legal obligation to operate their vehicle free from any unsafe distractions.
Common Distractions You Face While Driving
Drivers today face more distractions than ever before. In the modern world, distractions exist in a seemingly endless number of different forms. Some of the most common examples of driver distraction include:
- Talking on the phone
- Watching mobile videos
- Surfing the internet
- Checking e-mail
- Changing radio stations
- Talking to a passenger
Ultimately, safe driving requires one’s full attention to be on the road. Anything that takes your eyes or mind off of the task of driving for even a split second is an unsafe distraction. These distractions can put the safety of you, your loved ones and others on or near the road at serious risk.
Why Are Distractions So Dangerous?
Most people do not realize just how far their car travels each second. To put it into into perspective, when your car is traveling 45 mph, you are actually going 66 feet per second. If your attention is taken off the road for even two seconds, it will take your car an extra 130 feet to come to a stop.
You never know what is going to happen in front of you on the road. Another driver may pull out in front of you, or you may suddenly approach unexpected construction on the highway and be forced to make a quick stop.
One extra second could be the difference between making it home safely and getting into a life-altering wreck. Do not risk it: That text message can wait.
Three Tips to Protect Yourself from Distracted Driving
Here are a few tips you can follow in order to avoid distracted driving and its associated risks:
1. Put the phone away.
It can be tempting to try to steal a glance at your cell phone while you are driving. If you keep your phone in your lap, you may be unable to resist checking it to see who sent that last text or e-mail. The best thing you can do is to remove this temptation. Put your phone completely away while you are driving.
2. Know where you are going.
Often, distracted driving occurs as a result of trying to navigate. Whether you are fussing with a GPS device or trying to glance at the tiny writing on a street sign, navigation can take your mind of the road. Try your best to prepare ahead of time. Look up your route before you leave and program it into a GPS device that gives you oral instructions.
3. Pull over.
Finally, there will come times when you simply will have to take that call or respond to that text message. When this happens, find yourself a safe spot, pull your vehicle over and take care of that issue. Once you get it out of the way, you will be able to fully focus your attention on the road.