For many of us, it’s easy to dismiss the seriousness of sending a text while driving or fiddling with the radio more than watching the road. But this is distracted driving and it takes on many forms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than eight people are killed each day in the United States due to distracted driving. The most alarming truth about this statistic is the fact that these types of car accidents are increasing. According to the most recent study the number traffic crashes due to distracted driving in Connecticut continue to rise.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month
While safe driving techniques are important all year long, there is no better time than now to make smart choices behind the wheel and set good examples for your teen driver.
The Myth of Multitasking
Multitasking allows us to be more productive overall; however, it is impossible to multitask while operating a vehicle, since safe driving requires full, undivided attention. This is the myth behind multitasking while driving.
Everyone is guilty of multi-tasking while behind the wheel, even if it’s just eating or holding your hot coffee. However, these behaviors can become a problem when they distract your attention from the road.
“If you’re driving while cell-phoning, then your performance is going to be as poor as if you were legally drunk,” says David Meyer, a psychology professor at the University of Michigan.
If you are the parent of a teenager, this might hit home. Every parent fears unsafe roads for their child, though few may consider how texting while driving can have the same severe consequences as driving under the influence.
Before your teen can legally drive alone, he or she is probably most often in the car with you. What does your time behind the wheel with your child in the car look like?
Driving Is A Task That Requires Your Full Attention
Because you can never be sure of how other vehicles on the road are going to react, being aware of your surroundings requires your attention. If your focus is on your cell phone, passengers, food or some other distracting object, your odds of causing an accident increase.
The 3 Types of Distracted Driving
- Visual – Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual – Taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive – Taking attention away from driving
The National Safety Council revealed that in 2016, about 40,000 people were killed on the road. This is the highest amount in almost a decade. Distracted driving, bad driving and the need for stronger traffic laws are believed to be responsible for the tragically high number of fatalities.
Though drivers cannot be held responsible for changing the law, they are required to follow it, and every driver is responsible for his or her own actions. These actions are what teen drivers will observe and eventually imitate.
Safe Driving for the Whole Family
According to End Distracted Driving, studies have shown that teens who grow up in a home where their parents drive distracted are two to four times more likely to follow the same, dangerous path.
Children Learn From Watching Their Mothers And Fathers
If you regularly text while driving, play with apps, eat, apply makeup or have distracting conversations while you’re behind the wheel, it indirectly gives your teen permission to do the same.
In honor of Distracted Driving Awareness month, we’ve put together a list of tips that all members of the family can try to prevent unsafe habits.
Tips for Distraction-Free Driving
- Store your cell phone out of reach while driving
- Power your phone down to avoid temptation
- Choose music before you drive
- Eat before you get behind the wheel
- Verbally acknowledge your surroundings
- Pull over in the event of an emergency
- Keep both hands on the steering wheel
- Ask for accountability from your teen
Contact a Car Accident Attorney Today
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in a collision, we at The Flood Law Firm want to offer our condolences to you. This can be a trying time, and you could benefit from having a professional attorney on your side. Contact us today by calling 860-346-2695 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation. Let us be your advocates, so you can focus on moving on with your life.