Distracted driving is one of the deadliest risks on the road. A distracted driver may be unable to swerve, hit the brakes or otherwise react to a changing roadway situation in time to prevent a vehicle collision. Unfortunately, driving distracted is also one of the most common mistakes drivers make. As a motorist in Houston, take your responsibility to drive safely seriously. Before you get behind the wheel, reduce the likelihood of distracted driving with a few proven tips.
Education on the subject of distracted driving can be a powerful motivator behind changing your driving habits. Start with an understanding of how many accidents, deaths and serious injuries distracted drivers cause each year. In 2017 alone, 3,166 people died in distracted driving collisions in the U.S. Thousands of others suffered serious injuries that will change their lives forever. Many distracted driving accidents stem from cellphone use behind the wheel.
It does not take much to distract you enough to cause an accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says reading one text at 55 miles per hour can be the equivalent of driving across a football field with your eyes closed. Place your phone in the glovebox or in a hands-free holder to reduce your risk of using it while you drive. While it is legal to use a hands-free device, you cannot use a handheld device to text under Texas law. Many cities have passed additional ordinances banning all cellphone use. Texting and driving is one of the deadliest forms of driver distraction. Always put your phone away while driving.
The rate of distracted driving has grown in recent years due to the rise of a do-it-all culture. Many drivers feel pressure from their employers, teachers or families to get more done, faster. This could lead to trying to multitask behind the wheel, such as making business calls on a commute or trying to finish a chapter of required reading while driving to class. Eating, drinking, personal grooming, emailing, making phone calls, reading and performing other tasks behind the wheel is distracted driving. Dedicate your driving time to driving alone. Do not try to multitask while operating a motor vehicle.
If you have a hard time putting your cellphone away while driving, install apps that will automatically restrict your use while driving. Many app makers have created programs to solve the problem of distracted driving. You can install an app that will block your texts and phone calls until you have parked the car or one that rewards you for safe driving behaviors, such as not picking up your phone while the car is in motion. Most apps are free or require a nominal fee to help improve your safety.
Teenagers are the main demographic of drivers who text and drive. Set a positive example for your teens by paying attention to the road when you drive. Teach them about the serious risks of driving distracted and have them pledge to never text or talk on the phone while driving. Make a rule that your teen driver cannot have more than one or two passengers in the car at a time. Then, go the extra mile toward teen driver safety using an app that can track driving skills and phone use. Download a family-friendly app that allows you to control if and when your child uses his or her cellphone while driving. You can restrict it to only being able to dial 911, for example, using an app that knows when your teen is driving.
Autonomous cars can help prevent distracted driving through technologies such as lane-keeping assist. A modern vehicle will have sensors that know when you are drifting out of your lane. The sensors can then send a warning sound through the cab to let you know you need to pay better attention to the road. If you worry about distracted driving for you or your kids, invest in a newer car that has anti-distracted driving technologies. In conjunction with your own commitment to driving safely, vehicle technologies can work to reduce your risk of a car accident.
If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, speak with our Houston car accident lawyers today.