Most people are aware that driving comes with some level of risk. When you get on the road, you likely take precautions to support the safety of yourself and your loved ones. That might include ensuring your vehicle is in good working order, everyone fastens their seatbelts, and you obey the traffic and safety rules of the road.
Can you protect yourself from other drivers, though? Learn about the risks of distracted driving below and some steps you can take to protect yourself against drivers who aren’t paying attention on the roadway. We’ll conclude with some brief information about how a car accident attorney can help if you are involved in an accident.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s attention from the safe operation of the vehicle and proper observation of the roadway.
Some common reasons people are distracted while driving include:
- Texting on their phone
- Using other services on their phone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to or otherwise paying attention to other people in the car
- Engaging or fiddling with the stereo or navigation system
How Many Car Accidents Are Caused by Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving accounts for a large number of vehicle accidents each year. In 2020 alone, there were 3,142 distracted driving deaths and thousands of accidents that involved distracted driving.
Why Is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?
Distracted driving is so prevalent and dangerous in part because many people don’t understand how little it takes to cause a serious accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour moves around 100 yards in just five seconds. That’s the length of a football field.
Taking your eyes off the road for just a moment to consult the navigation system or check a text can mean not seeing 100 yards or more of the road you’re driving on. It can take mere seconds for something in front of you to change and lead to an accident.
Protecting Yourself From Distracted Drivers
Unfortunately, we can’t control everything on the road. That includes road conditions and weather as well as the actions of other drivers. However, there are some proactive steps you can take to reduce the chances you might be involved in an accident with a distracted driver or reduce the injuries that might occur in such an accident.
- Always wear your seatbelt. Statistics have shown that wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risks of death in motor vehicle accidents. Ensure you’re buckled up and ensure your children are in the appropriate car or booster seats.
- Reduce distractions for yourself. You’re more able to respond proactively to issues on the roadway that might be caused by distracted drivers if you aren’t distracted yourself. Avoid using your phone when driving. If you must talk on your phone, use Bluetooth and hands-free technology to reduce distraction. Limit other distractions, such as eating or drinking, changing the radio, or constantly tweaking the navigation or entertainment system.
- Observe and remain aware of your surroundings. Avoid the tendency to operate your vehicle almost on auto-pilot, especially on roads you know well or long stretches of highway. Don’t just look at the vehicles and road signs around you. Give a brief glance to drivers in nearby vehicles or those approaching you in opposite lanes when possible. If they appear to be agitated or not paying attention, you have some warning of potential issues and can react accordingly. You can also take precautionary measures such as carefully changing lanes or slowing down to avoid driving too near the potentially distracted driver.
- Engage in defensive driving. Defensive driving techniques allow you to react quickly if another driver makes an error on the roadway that could cause an accident. If you aren’t familiar with defensive driving, you may be able to register for a free or low-cost class in your city.
- Protect yourself as a pedestrian. Many pedestrian accidents also occur because a driver was too distracted to see a person walking on or near the road. Reduce your risks of being injured in such an accident by paying attention to vehicles on the road and the drivers inside them. Sticking to crosswalks and other areas designed for pedestrians can also help.
- Understand where more risk might be present. Some areas are more likely to have distracted drivers than others. A busy school zone in the morning, for example, is full of parents trying to get their kids off to school so they can move on to work or other obligations. This may be an area with a lot of distracted driving. In contrast, a rural road with very few cars means you’re less likely to encounter a distracted driver. Obviously, distracted driving can and does occur in all types of locations, though, so keep that in mind.
Help From a Car Accident Attorney
If you do find yourself involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, consider working with a car accident attorney to seek compensation for your damages. An experienced attorney can help make a case that the other driver was distracted and at fault in the accident. They can also present evidence of damages and injuries to support a settlement or award in the case that can help you seek a more stable future or recovery.
The team at Jarrett & Price, LLC, helps car accident victims seek compensation. Call us today to find out how we can help or to set up a consultation.