April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The month seeks to remember the thousands of individuals who died in crashes caused by distracted driving, as well as raise awareness about the dangers of this deadly activity.
The National Safety Council provides resources where you can learn more about distracted driving, as well as share information with others, including free posters, tip sheets, and more.
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
The amount of people who have sustained severe or fatal injuries in distracted driving accidents is harrowing. Distraction.gov reports that in 2014, 3,179 people died in distracted driving crashes, and another 431,000 sustained injury.
These losses are tragic, but are even more so when you think that all of these injuries and deaths were completely preventable if not for the actions of a distracted driver.
Types of Distracted Driving
Perhaps the most common form of distraction behind the wheel is the use of a cell phone. Using a cell phone impairs the driver cognitively, visually, and manually – a dangerous trifecta.
But using a cell phone is not the only thing that can be distracting; eating, drinking, looking at scenery, talking to passengers, attending to a pet or child, reading, or anything else that takes one’s focus off of driving can be very dangerous as well.
Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving
Not falling victim to distracted driving can be hard – there is a lot going on around a person in any given moment. Here are some tips to help you keep your eyes and mind on the road.
- Turn your phone off when in the car, or put it on silent or ‘do not disturb mode’ and keep it out of sight.
- Make sure you have properly restrained children and pets.
- Choose your music before the wheels are spinning.
- Enter a destination into your GPS before starting your car.
- Remind your passengers to keep it down.
- Refrain from drinking or eating while driving. If you cannot get by without your coffee on your morning commute, use a thermos with a spill-proof lid, and only take sips when the car is at a stop.
What to Do if You Are in a Distracted Driving Crash
If you are involved in a distracted driving crash, know that you have options. You may be able to file a claim with either your own insurance company or that of the other driver’s, or you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages.