Driving a vehicle requires focus. Not only are you operating a machine capable of reaching high speeds, you are often doing so with others in the vehicle and in cars on the road around you.
Your focus needs to increase when adding bad weather, road debris and other hazards.
As such, there is no safe way to drive your car while using cellphones, while under the influence of certain substances or while sleep deprived. Even so, distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents, killing more than 200,000 people and injuring 431,000 in the United States in 2014, according to distraction.gov.
Help make the road a safer place with these four ways to prevent distracted driving.
1. Give yourself time
In today’s busy world, people often rush from meeting to appointment to gathering, barely giving themselves enough time to get where they're going. If you are stressed about making it to your destination, that qualifies as a distraction.
“Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and increases your risk of crashing,” distraction.gov says.
Limit this distraction by giving yourself enough time to reach your destination safely. When you're running late, take deep breaths and remind yourself no appointment is worth getting into a car accident.
2. Use a designated driver
Driving while intoxicated can cause deadly accidents. While drunken-driving deaths in Nevada have been on the decline, there were still 341 fatalities and 780 serious injuries in the state between 2009 and 2013 because of impaired driving, according to a report by Zero Fatalities Nevada.
If you plan on drinking, simply do not drive. If you need to get home, call a cab ahead of time or ask a friend or family member who has not been drinking to take you to your destination safely.
3. Pull off the road
If you find your mind pulled in other directions while driving, whether it is a text that needs to be sent or phone call that needs to be made, or your mind is drifting off due to lack of sleep, pulling off the road is the best option. Preferably, pull into a parking lot or other safe area to stop your car.
Even better, instead of using your phone in the car, take the time to text or call when you can concentrate on that task. Additionally, get enough sleep at night, or let yourself take an afternoon nap when necessary. It may not seem like a big deal, but it could save lives.
4. Avoid cell phone use
Cell phones are wonderful tools for communicating and finding information with just a few clicks or swipes. However, those simple motions are enough time to cause problems, when you take your eyes off the road.
“On average texting takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds," according to a Zero Fatalities Nevada news release. "When traveling at 55 mph, that's enough time to cover the length of a football field blindfolded.”
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department further cautions that texting drivers are as bad as drunk drivers.
“Drivers using their phones are slow to respond to traffic control devices, drifting and swerving in the travel lane and drive too slow or too fast for traffic conditions," LVMPD Sergeant Peter Kisfalvi said in the release. "Drivers texting while operating a motor vehicle are showing symptoms of a driver with a BAC of .08.”
If you are concerned about specific people contacting you while driving, send a text before getting behind the wheel to let them know you will be unavailable. You can also set up an automatic response, so anyone who texts you will receive a message back that lets them know you are driving. Finally, consider silencing your phone while on the road to eliminate the temptation to check your notifications.
Even when taking preventative measures, accidents can happen and victims need an attorney they can trust. The attorneys at Ed Bernstein & Associates have more than 40 years experience in personal injury law and understand its finer nuances. Visit edbernstein.com or call (702) 240-0000 to find out how to get started on the road to recovery.