Distracted driving occurs when a person is engaged in driving while engaged in any activity that takes their attention off the road. For example, talking on a cell phone, PDA or other device without a headset, texting, reading, eating or any other activity. Ever since the advent and popularity of mobile devices, distracted driving has been on the rise.
Common Types of Distracted Driving
Distractions while driving can occur either visually, manually or on a cognitive basis. Visual distraction is described as anything that averts a person’s eyes from the road, while manual distractions involve removing hands from the wheel. Cognitive distractions can involve virtually anything that takes the driver’s attention away from driving. Whether you ask a Nevada patrol officer or local New Hampshire injury attorneys, they will both suggest that by far, the most common form of distracted driving has involved the use of a mobile device. However, distracted driving behaviors can run the gamut. From cell phones to eating and drinking, some people almost behave as though they are in a casual home environment. Rather than considering the fact that they are operating a large machine capable of killing themselves and others, they irresponsibly allow their attention to drift off.
Distracted Driving Causes
There are just as many causes for distracted driving as there are activities themselves. For example, someone who is running late may be anxious and therefore drive sloppily or haphazardly. In that case, lack of time management is most likely the cause behind this particular form of distracted driving.
Those who look away at a cell phone, PDA, radio or other mobile device is someone who is not thinking much about the consequences of their actions. Perhaps they failed to prepare for their trip and now must get more information or notify someone that they will be late.
Avoiding Distracted Driving
Some of the ways to avoid distracted driving might include:
1. Time Management. Always consider how long it will take to reach a destination and then add plenty of time to that schedule. In many towns, the roads are very unpredictable, so having extra time will allow you to be more relaxed, and therefore, less prone to becoming agitated or nervous.
2. Be organized. Prepare for your trip with addresses and directions ahead of time. GPS devices are great, but they are not always reliable. Therefore, have a solid idea of how to get from place to place ahead of time.
3. Create a safe environment in the car. Have your radio presets at the ready. Play relaxing music rather than anything that is too loud or demanding to listen to. Keep your cell phone out of reach or in the glove compartment.
4. Adopt safer driving habits. If you need to make a call, pull over. That is the best way to avoid distractions. If you must talk while driving, use a headset at all times. Consider getting a device that plugs into the dashboard like the radio to make safer phone calls. Eat a snack beforehand so that you are not compelled to eat while driving.
While the dangers of distracted driving continue to receive increased attention – the only way that it will ever become less prevalent is if people become more aware of how to avoid it. For example, those people who are accountable and punctual tend to be less hurried and therefore, more relaxed.
It is expected that as more public outcry and stringent legislation is passed, more people will take the dangers of distracted driving as seriously as possible and act more responsibly while driving on the road.
However, much like drunk driving – distracted driving will never completely cease. Therefore, anyone who is involved in such an unfortunate incident should contact a competent attorney to ensure that their rights are fully represented and that damages and costs are minimized as much as possible.
Being the accident victim of a distracted driver helps freelance writer, Nadine Swayne, remind drivers to stay alert. At the law offices of Tenn And Tenn, PA, their staff of New Hampshire injury attorneys can help you with your case if you’ve been in an accident due to a distracted driver. They have a proven track record for holding negligent drivers accountable and will fight to get you and your loved ones the fair compensation deserved.
Photo Credit: Oregon Department of Transportation (CC BY 2.0)