According to a 2007 Harvard study, Americans will spend approximately 101 minutes per day behind the wheel. When you do the math, that means that over 7% of your life is spent driving.
Given that percentage, it’s not surprising that many of us get a little blasé about our driving habits and allow distractions to creep in. Those distractions are often what lead to accidents on the roadway.
While none of us can control what others are doing, here are a few tips that will keep you from being distracted and from being at fault if you are in an accident.
- Ignore the Phone Calls. Even if you have a newer model car with buttons on the wheel that allow you to take and make phone calls while driving, you shouldn’t do it. Carrying on a conversation with family, friends, or coworkers is a distraction even if your eyes are fixed on the road ahead. If you’re talking to someone, you’re not completely paying attention and your reaction time suffers. So don’t make or take that call and keep your mind focused on driving.
- Sing Along with that Horrible Song. You might hate what just came on the radio. It may be the one song that gets under your skin and drives you absolutely nuts. It doesn’t matter. Don’t focus on the music and keep your attention on the road. Reaching for the radio takes your eyes away from driving, even if only for a fraction of a second, and that could lead to danger. So grin and bear it, and if you absolutely must change the station, pull off the road to do so.
- Start Teaching Your Children Early. Children in the car can be one of the biggest distractions. We all know this, because we were all distracting children at some point in our lives. If you start teaching your children early that driving is an important job and, while you’re sorry you can’t look at their pretty artwork, you just can’t until you get home, they’ll learn not to ask while you’re in the car. Better yet, give them a distraction of their own, whether it be a book, a movie on the phone you’re not answering, or tuning the radio to their favorite Raffi (is he still around?) song.
- Your Steering Wheel is Not a Dinner Table. Eating on the run isn’t just unhealthy, it’s dangerous. If you’re eating in your car, you’re providing yourself with an overabundance of distractions. You’re unwrapping and rewrapping food, grabbing for napkins out of the glove box, and focusing on the food itself when you should be focusing on the road instead. You likely won’t starve if you wait the 20 minutes or so to get where you’re going, so put the food away and drive. When you do get home, or to your office, you can sit down and actually enjoy your food.
- Get Ready Ahead of Time. It may sound like a given, but personal grooming, like putting on makeup or trimming your beard, should be done before you leave the house. Still, I’m sure you see someone doing just those things on a nearly daily basis while you’re driving. There is no meeting so important that you can’t take a few extra minutes at home to make sure you look your best before getting behind the wheel.
There are of course, many other things you should avoid doing to prevent being distracted while driving. Reading a book or newspaper, checking the map to make sure you know where you are, and of course, texting and driving is literally criminally dangerous in most states. So avoid those as well.
Overall, you’re in a car and driving to get to your chosen destination. Make sure you get there safely by reducing the distractions you bring with you into the car, and focusing on the road ahead.
If you have been in an accident and need strong, personal representation, contact us. We can review your case and we’ll work hard to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. Orlando car accident lawyers