Distracted Driving

Taking your eyes from the road for even just a few seconds can significantly increase your risk of getting in a car accident. Distracted driving, or any action that removes your focus from the road and act of driving, is quickly becoming one of the leading causes of auto accidents in the United States. If you’re involved in a distracted driving accident in Colorado, don’t hesitate to call on an experienced car accident lawyer in Denver. They can help you understand your case, assess its true value, and if necessary, fight for you in court.

But hopefully, you’re never involved in a distracted driving accident to begin with. Every driver should do everything they can to keep the roads safe—this includes staying focused on the act of driving and ignoring potential distractions. Here, we’re taking a closer look at distracted driving and why this dangerous driving habit has quickly become one of the leading causes of car accidents. We also offer some simple tips to help you avoid distracted driving when you’re next behind the wheel. Someone’s life could count on it.

What is Distracted Driving?

First things first, what exactly do we mean by the phrase “distracted driving?” According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving is “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” This can include quite a few things, such as talking or texting on your phone, eating behind the wheel, or just staring off for a few minutes at a billboard. Any moment or action where your full attention is pulled away from the road and the act of driving can be considered a form of distracted driving. No matter the source or cause of your distraction, this habit is always dangerous for both you and other motorists.

What are the Different Types of Distracted Driving?

The most common type of distracted driving is the one we hear about most: using your smartphone (whether talking, texting, or even looking up directions) while driving. Using your phone while driving is so dangerous because it completely takes your eyes and focuses from the road, usually for an extended period of time.

Texting and driving are particularly dangerous and for years these types of accidents have been on the rise. According to the NHTSA, texting and driving leads to roughly 400 fatal car crashes every single year. And tens of thousands of additional crashes are caused by other forms of distracted driving. Essentially, remember that the phone call or text message can always wait until you’re not driving.

In fact, many states now have laws that prohibit drivers from using their smartphones. Many states have made texting and driving illegal, but some, like California, even made it illegal to talk on your phone (unless you’re using a hands-free device).

In addition to using your smartphone while driving, there are many different forms of distracted driving—many of which can prove to be just as dangerous. Let’s take a look at some of the other top causes of distracted driving.

  • Talking to passengers.
  • Adjusting your music and radio.
  • Looking for directions on your GPS or phone.
  • Eating or drinking while driving.
  • Reading billboards.
  • Applying makeup.
  • Daydreaming.

Why is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?

You may still be asking yourself, why exactly are these habits so dangerous? After all, we’ve all talked to passengers or fiddled with the radio before and nothing bad happened, right? But just because you’ve gotten lucky before, this doesn’t mean your luck will continue.

Distracted driving is so dangerous because it draws your attention to ever-changing road conditions. When driving down a highway at 60 miles per hour, you have very little time to react to a change in the road, such as a car slowing down or stopping. It takes a lot of runways to stop a car from going that fast, which increases your risk of an accident.

Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving

While distracted driving can prove to be very dangerous (even fatal), it’s also a very preventable habit. We’re all bound to slip up from time to time, but it’s crucial that drivers of all ages and experience levels remain focused on the road at all times. For many, removing the potential for distractions is one of the most effective ways to drive safer. This may be why many states have laws that younger drivers can only drive with family members (and not just friends) during their first year or so behind the wheel.

Here are some simple tips to help you prevent distracted driving:

  • Go hands-free with your phone: with the availability of hands-free phone devices, such as Bluetooth, it’s easier than ever to still talk on your phone without being distracted or taking your eyes from the road. In fact, more and more cars are becoming outfitted with Bluetooth devices.
  • Get organized before you go: before ever turning on the engine, get everything you’ll need organized. Get your water bottle within hand reach, get your directions entered into your GPS, and adjust your mirrors or any other small task. This simple routine can make your time behind the wheel that much easier (and safer).
  • Don’t eat behind the wheel: save your meals for home or the office. Even if this feels like you’re saving significant time, it isn’t worth the risk.

Conclusion – Why is Distracted Driving So Dangerous?

In recent years, it’s shocking to see the dramatic rise in distracted driving accidents. In the United States, distracted driving is now the leading cause of auto accidents. Whether this takes the form of using your smartphone, talking with another passenger, looking up directions, or just gazing off for a few moments, distracted driving is dangerous.

Thus, it’s everyone’s responsibility to focus on the road, avoid distractions, and keep our highways and roads safer. Luckily, there are simple steps that everyone can take to avoid these distractions from the beginning. Put your phone out of reach (or turn it off), get everything in your car organized before moving, and avoid eating behind the wheel. And never send a text message behind the wheel. No matter how urgent you may think that call or text seems to be, it’s never worth a potential crash.

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