LAFAYETTE, Louisiana. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2015. An estimated 391,000 were injured in distracted driving accidents. Distracted driving impacts us all. Whether we find ourselves tempted to pick up the phone after receiving a notification or need to check our GPS because we are lost, each of these actions has the potential to result in a serious accident. So, what can we all do behind the wheel to prevent distracted driving? Here are ten tips:
- Make a driving playlist. Changing the music on your phone is distracted driving, especially if you are searching through your music library for the song you want to hear. The best way to avoid this kind of distracted driving is to have a pre-set driving playlist on your phone. Put on songs that you know you’ll want to hear in traffic. According to AARP, many music streaming services allow you to pre-set your favorites so you won’t have to tinker with your phone while driving.
- Put your pets in carriers. Having your dog or cat decide to run under the gas pedal in the middle of a cross country adventure is never safe. Find a pet carrier that will keep your pet comfortable and avoid dangerous or deadly situations.
- Don’t drink and eat while driving. It goes without saying, but even if you feel you can drink your coffee and drive, try cleaning up an accidental spill at 55 miles per hour.
- Go over the route before you go. Checking your GPS is distracted driving and it can be incredibly dangerous. Either have your passenger guide you with GPS. Or, if you’re driving alone, review the route before you leave and preset the GPS to provide you out loud instructions so you don’t have to look down at your phone.
- Turn off your phone. Phone notifications trigger a release of dopamine in our brains and suppress the part of our brains responsible for judgement and decision-making. Rather than letting your phone control the way you drive, turn off your phone before you hit the road.
- Use your phone’s driving feature. If thinking about turning off your phone before you drive is too much work, many phones now have a feature that automatically shuts off notifications while you are on the road. If your phone doesn’t have this feature, there are applications available that can also do this for you.
- Give yourself time to get ready for work. If you find yourself drinking coffee, grooming, or eating during your drive, consider what you can do before you leave home to avoid driving while distracted.
- Get to know your car. Most cars have features that allow you to go hands free. Get to know these features.
- Tired, emotional, stressed? Consider alternative forms of transportation. Distracted driving is not just checking your phone or eating behind the wheel. You can be distracted if you haven’t gotten enough rest, if you are stressed, or if you had a bad fight the night before. If you feel that you will be distracted while driving, consider alternative forms of transportation.
- Teach teens and children the importance of safe driving and set an example. Teens will follow your example. If you don’t want them to be unsafe, don’t be unsafe yourself.
Despite the fact that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, too many Americans continue to use their phones while behind the wheel. For many families, distracted driving results in serious medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering when these accidents occur. If you or a loved one has been personally injured in a distracted driving accident, consider speaking to Laborde Earles: Injury Lawyers in Lafayette, Louisiana. Our personal injury firm works closely with families so that their voices are heard and justice is served.