Distracted Driving Accidents: What Causes Them & How You can Prevent Them
Last updated Monday, July 19th, 2021
The term ‘distracted driving’ simply means doing something else that takes your attention away from driving, whether it’s changing the radio station, talking to your kids, eating or putting on makeup. Distracted driving accidents are a serious and ongoing problem, especially in recent years with the explosion of mobile phones and the phenomenon of texting while driving.
Distracted Driving Accidents Are Common
Accidents related to a distracted driver are a common cause of death and injury in the U.S. Every day approximately 8 people are killed and 1,160 injured in vehicle crashes that involved a distracted driver, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The three types of distracted driving include:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: letting your mind wander from driving
Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it involves all three functions—taking your eyes off the road, taking your hands off the wheel, and thinking about the message rather than driving.
4 Facts About Distracted Driving
Nearly one in five crashes with injuries were as a result of distracted driving. Many personal injury lawsuits involve distracted driving, with plaintiffs often recovering significant damages if the other party is proven to have been texting or otherwise distracted when the accident occurred.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that more than 3,150 people were killed and about 424,000 people injured in distracted-driving-related motor vehicle accidents in 2015. Consider these facts about distracted driving:
1. Texting is one of the most dangerous forms of distraction. It takes the driver’s attention away from the road for longer periods than other sources of distraction.
2. If you’re traveling at 55 mph, in the time it takes to read a text, you will have covered the distance of a football field.
3. Drivers under the age of 20 make up the largest demographic in distraction-related fatal automobile accidents.
4. Nearly a third of all drivers 18-64 have said that they texted or read emails while driving.
Driving while texting, applying makeup, or fiddling with the radio is dangerous. It’s also a good way for an experienced personal injury attorney to prove negligence and recover damages in a civil lawsuit.
Preventing Distracted Driving
Many states, including Illinois, have enacted laws banning activities like texting while driving. Illinois has gone further, banning the use of all hand-held devices while driving. Hands-free technology such as Bluetooth and headsets are still permitted. Cell phone use is not permitted while driving in school zones, highway construction zones, and for novice drivers.
To prevent becoming distracted while driving, do the following:
- Pull over to a safe place to talk on the phone, send a text message, or send an email.
- Know how your climate controls, sound systems, and other devices work. Never take your eyes off the road to adjust these things. If you must make adjustments, do so by touch.
- Never adjust your seat while driving. Rather pull over to a safe place if you need to adjust your seat height or distance from the pedals.
- Avoid eating, drinking, and smoking while driving. Never groom, apply makeup, or try to read or write while driving.
- Pull over for children. If your kids are arguing, crying, or hungry, pull over to tend to their needs. Interaction with kids is a leading cause of distraction.
10 Tips For Driving Safely Especially In Chicago Winters
Motorists hitting the highways around Chicago during the winter months should remember to:
1. Avoid using cruise control when driving on potentially slippery surfaces. Your ability to quickly alter the speed to match conditions will be impaired.
2. Tire tread depth is critically important for traction and grip on slippery, icy, or snow-laden roads. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Underinflated tires won’t get the maximum amount of traction needed to ensure safe driving.
3. Slow down. When visibility is diminished by snowstorms and roads are slippery, speed is more dangerous than usual.
4. Increase your following distance. Wet surfaces make it even harder to slow down. Keep a greater distance between yourself and other vehicles to reduce the likelihood of a wreck.
5. Keep abreast of weather conditions. Check the weather before venturing forth. If conditions are bad, don’t leave home unless it’s absolutely necessary.
6. Make sure your wiper fluid is full.
7. Keep your windows clean and clear. This is critical when driving in any bad weather conditions.
8. Wiper blades should be replaced every 6 months, especially if they are failing to clean your windows.
9. Make sure to clean the snow off your rear window before you start driving. Bad weather conditions make driving hard enough but limited visibility all around makes it far worse.
10. Lastly, and most importantly, don’t use a mobile phone while you’re driving. Your full attention should be on the road at all times.
Top 4 Apps For Driving Safely To Avoid An Accident
Here are some of the top apps that can help to keep you and your family safer on the road. The one thing that all of these apps have in common is that they prevent distracted driving. Everyone knows that using your smartphone when driving is dangerous, but people keep doing it anyway. These apps remove the temptation forcing drivers to make better decisions.
Try These Top 4 Apps For Driving Safely
Lifesaver is a safe driving app that uses GPS monitoring to monitor the driver’s habits. It also has a feature that alerts parents or loved ones once someone arrives at their destination. The most important feature of this app is that it blocks phone usage while driving. Distracted driving is very dangerous.
Driving with all of your focus on the road is hard enough, but if you’re talking on your phone, reading texts, or looking at social media then driving safely is virtually impossible .
2. AT&T Drive Mode
Once a driver hits 15 mph in a car when they have this app, their phone is automatically blocked from receiving or sending texts or phone calls. This app is easy to set up, easy to use, and it’s blocking of phone use automatically helps to ensure that drivers behave responsibly on the road .
3. TrueMotion Family
TrueMotion Family is a free safe driving app that takes a unique approach to keep drivers safe and focused on the road. This app tracks your driving habits when you’re on the road and assigns you a score each time you drive .
This score can then be compared among friends and family members giving you an idea of who is driving safely and who needs to make improvements. What makes this app interesting is that it takes something serious and adds a bit of fun to the mix to keep things interesting.
Mojo is an app that runs in the background as you drive and keeps track of the number of calls, texts, swipes, or other activities you do on your phone when you’re driving. For each minute that you drive without engaging in distracted driving behaviors, you’ll earn a point.
When you reach 300 points you get to spin a wheel for a chance to win a $5 gift card from Amazon, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Starbucks. This app also allows you to compete with your friends, making safe driving something that is fun and exciting for drivers .
Rewards systems have historically proven to be an effective way to encourage positive behavior and Mojo takes advantage of this.
If You’ve Been Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident
If you were in an accident involving distracted driving, the expert attorneys at Shuman Legal can help. Our personal injury lawyers will explain your legal options and remedies if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.