Road traffic accidents are never good news. Recent statistics show that 431,000 people were injured and 3,179 were killed in 2014. Many of these incidents were caused by drivers being distracted, so to draw attention to this fact, April has been designated Distracted Driving Awareness Month.
Now that you are feeling thoroughly depressed by such horrifying statistics, it is time to introduce some good news. Luckily for road safety campaigners, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the level of distraction in your car. Education is the key, so read on for some useful tips on preventing accidents as a result of driver distraction.
Familiarity Leads to Distraction
Distracted driving is a killer. The less we concentrate on the road, the easier it is to miss what is going on around us. Often problems arise on journeys we make regularly; by virtue of the fact we are so familiar with the route.
Say, for example, you commute to work by car. If you drive the same route every day, you are probably so familiar with every nuance of the road that I bet you barely even notice it any more. Like most commuters, you probably head to and from work wrapped up in your own thoughts or listening to the radio.
The same applies if you use sat-nav devices or dashboard infotainment systems. These are all incredibly useful because they keep us connected and help us out when driving in unfamiliar places, but they are a huge distraction.
The Dangers of Infotainment Devices in Cars
53 per cent of drivers believe that such devices are fantastic, but research carried out by the National Safety Council has indicated that drivers using hands-free devices and multimedia features provided in many modern vehicles don’t pay as much attention to the road and their surroundings as they should.
To reduce the level of distraction in your car, always remember that just because your car has a dashboard infotainment device, you are not obliged to use it. You should also be very aware of the dangers of using hands-free technology – there have been numerous studies showing the human brain remains distracted, even when using a hands-free system. So even though you are not physically handling your smartphone to make a call, your brain is still distracted enough to raise the risk of a car accident occurring.
Preventing Distraction Accidents
To prevent accidents, minimize distractions as much as possible.
- Make sure you are comfortable and your seat is properly adjusted before you set off.
- Check where everything is if the vehicle is unfamiliar.
- Keep smartphones and other devices out of sight and out of reach.
- Don’t eat and drink while you are driving.
- Don’t try and sort problems with the kids on the road – pull over and deal with them in a place of safety.
- Keep pets safe and secure, either in the luggage area or attached to a seat belt point using a safety harness.
If the worst happens and you are involved in an accident, contact an auto accident attorney.