How Not to Be a Distracted Driver

April Is Distracted Driving Awareness Month 

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Many of us mindlessly grab our phone to send a text message or answer a call while driving. It may seem minor, but these actions lead to countless traffic crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), taking your eyes off the road for just five seconds at 55 mph is equivalent to driving the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. 

As personal injury lawyers, we are committed to spreading awareness on the dangers of distracted driving, especially during National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. If you were in an accident caused by a distracted driver, call our Anaheim law office at (714) 395-5514 for a free consultation. 


Three Types of Driving Distractions 

There are three main types of driving distractions:

  • Cognitive: A cognitive distraction is anything that takes your focus and concentration away from driving. It could take the form of daydreaming, talking to passengers, or even road rage. Stress, fatigue, and alcohol/drug impairment can also be factors. 
  • Manual: A manual distraction is defined as anything that causes you to take your hands off the wheel. This could be eating, drinking, smoking, texting, holding a phone, adjusting the radio, or setting a destination in your vehicle’s navigation system. 
  • Visual: A visual distraction is anything that diverts your eyes from the road. It can be searching for something in your vehicle, looking down at your phone, changing your radio or GPS, or looking at something outside of your vehicle. 

All of these distractions can put yourself, your passengers, and others on the road in danger. Texting is the most alarming distraction because it involves all three types of distractions.

It is always advisable to pull over when it is safe if you need to complete any of the above tasks. 


Distracted Driving Statistics

Diverts attention from the road

In a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) and the NHTSA, 80% of motor vehicle accidents and 65% of near accidents involve some form of driver distraction. Additionally, the distraction occurred within three seconds before the crash. This underscores the dangers of distracted driving and how quickly an accident can happen. 

The study also reveals the main factors that caused the distracted driving traffic crashes:

  • Using electronic or mobile devices
  • Searching for an object inside the vehicle. 
  • Looking at an object outside the vehicle. 
  • Eating.
  • Applying makeup. 

In 2022, 3,308 lives were lost due to distracted driving. 


California’s No Texting While Driving Law

While there is no universal ban on texting or using a cellphone while driving, many states have enacted laws centered around distracted driving. California has primary laws that ban texting while driving and driving while using a handheld cell phone. The fine is $162 for the first citation. Fines increase after each subsequent violation. 

Only the use of a hands-free device is allowed. However, for drivers under 18 years of age, they are not allowed to use a handheld or hands-free device while driving. 


Top Tips to Be Less Distracted on the Road 

Don't drive distracted - safe driving tips

It is not difficult to be a less distracted driver – all you have to do is focus on driving! Here are tips to be a safer, better driver. Share these tips with your friends and family for Distracted Driving Awareness Month and help save lives.

1. Plan Ahead

Adjust your seat, mirrors, and climate controls before hitting the road. Set up your music or podcast playlist and decide on your route ahead of time. You can check traffic conditions ahead of time using apps like Google Maps or Waze. 

2. Put Your Phone Away

Turn off your phone or put it in “do not disturb” mode to avoid the temptation to text or browse online. Even if you’re at a stop, you should not text or answer a call. 

3. Avoid Multitasking 

Multitasking while driving can severely impair your driving ability and is a very dangerous behavior. Don’t eat, drink, groom, or use your phone while driving. Make time at home for these activities. 

4. Secure Children and Pets

If you have small children or pets in the vehicle, make sure they are properly secured before you start driving. If they need attention, pull over to a safe location. 

5. Use Your Co-Pilot

If you have passengers, let them handle tasks like navigation or managing the music playlist. Do not engage in lengthy conversations with passengers, as it can lead to cognitive distractions. 

6. Get Enough Rest 

Get enough rest before driving to ensure you’re alert and focused on the road. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. 

7. Practice Defensive Driving

Always be aware of your surroundings and anticipate potential hazards. 

8. Set a Good Example

Model safe driving behavior, especially if you have young drivers who will learn from your actions. Ask your friends and family to join you in the pledge to not drive distracted.


Were You in an Accident with a Distracted Driver? 

Distracted driving accidents are commonly underreported, as it can be difficult to identify the source of the crash after it happens. However, given the growing number of people with smartphones and advanced infotainment systems in their vehicles, distracted driving is becoming more frequent. During the month of April, you will likely see increased law enforcement and messaging geared towards distracted drivers. 

If you were involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, our Anaheim car accident lawyer can help you prove their negligence and obtain financial compensation. Katella Injury Attorneys is the top personal injury law firm in Orange County with a 99% success rate. To speak with us about your accident, contact us for a free case evaluation by phone or online.

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