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Dealing with Distracted Driving
That new car feeling—when your new car is equipped with all the new bells and whistles and new technology. Almost all new cars on the market these days have information and entertainment systems and while these can make driving a lot easier and even more fun, they can also lead to more distractions.
From playing music on your AppleCarPlay to sending dictated text messages to navigating directions, drivers can become easily distracted from the road. When you are playing with these features or your phone as you drive, you put yourself and other drivers in danger. Tampa car accident attorney Mickey Keenan shares tips to eliminate driving distractions.
WHAT IS DISTRACTED DRIVING?
The CDC reports that every day approximately 9 people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in traffic–related crashes that involve a distracted driver. But what is distracted driving?
Distracted driving is driving while another activity takes your attention away from the actual driving at hand. This activity can be a visual, manual, or even a cognitive distraction. Driving is often so routine we forget we are driving down the road in a box made of heavy steel and oftentimes go into “autopilot” on the road.
In essence, distracted driving is the state of driving your vehicle without devoting 100% of your focus to the task at hand. A distracted driver is trying to do two more things at once, whether that is talking to a passenger, disciplining children, or engaging with the vehicle’s in-car technology. Since these activities take away at least part of the driver’s focus, it becomes a dangerous situation for everyone.
IS IN-CAR TECHNOLOGY A DANGEROUS DISTRACTION?
An “info”tainment system in your car can be an especially tempting distraction. The auto industry claims that these new systems are a better and safer alternative for drivers than a regular mobile phone but let’s look at some recent data to see if that is really true.
A study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the“info”tainment systems in many new cars could distract drivers for over 40 seconds at a time. According to AAA, even just looking away from the road for two seconds can double your chance of being in an accident.
Participants in this study were asked to use interactive technologies to make a telephone call, send a text message, find a radio station, and program the navigation system—all while driving. It was found that navigation systems were the most time–intensive; they forced drivers to take their eyes off the road for more than 40 seconds. In that time, a car driving at 25 miles per hour would travel the length of four football fields, all while mostly driving blind.
Some auto makers try to address this distraction by not allowing navigation programming while the car is in motion but nearly half of the 30 car models tested in the study still allowed for it to be used.
PREVENTING DISTRACTED DRIVING
Researchers say that in-car technology can be made safer by following federal recommendations such as logging out of texts, disconnecting from social media, and programming the navigation system while the car is not in motion. But there are additional steps you can take to reduce your own distracted driving.
One of the best ways to overcome in-car technology distractions is to not sync your phone to any in-car technology and to place your mobile phone in the glove compartment while driving. While this may be not a realistic option, it is a great and safer option if you are prone to being distracted easily and need to avoid any temptation.
If not using your phone at all while driving is too unrealistic, some other options can help curb distracted driving. Installing apps on your phone, or the phone of your driving teenager, can be a great option. For example, the app Drive Smart will send incoming calls directly to your voicemail and mutes text message all while sending an automatic response to the person texting that says you are driving and not available. This app also allows you to accumulate points for safe driving.
Some cell phone providers allow you to put your phone in a Drive Mode which silences text message notifications. Another app, the LifeSaver, uses GPStracking to monitor the number of safe miles driven. The app blocks the ability to use your phone while you are driving and notifies others when you’ve arrived safely at your destination.
Don’t Be Distracted
While there is really no 100% full-proof method to avoid distracted driving, there are steps you can take to be a safe driver. Think about your personal driving history and see what your temptations are that can cause you to become distracted when you drive. From there you can pick the right option for you—whether it is not using your phone at all, placing your phone on a “no distraction” setting or app, or limiting your use of certain “info”tainment technology while in actual use of the vehicle.
In an accident with a distracted driver? Our Tampa, FL personal injury attorneys can help you after a car accident. As your legal team, your fight is our fight and we don’t get paid unless you do. Call Mickey Keenan Law in South Tampa, FL today to speak with an injury lawyer.