According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 49,231 crashes in 2016 due to distracted driving.
Most of us think of only cell phone use as causes of distracted driving but in fact, anything that can divert your attention from the road, or make you take your hands off the wheel is considered distracted driving. Distracted driving that results in an accident, injury, or death can lead to charges of reckless driving.
In certain situations, there are steps you can take to minimize distractions on the road.
Don’t use your phone while driving. If you absolutely must attend to a text, email, or phone call while driving considering pulling over to do so. Many new cars offer hands-free Bluetooth connectivity to address this problem but this may still diminish your ability to react quickly. As an alternative, there are apps available that will block calls and messages while you are driving.
Pull over if your children need your attention. Needs often times arise while driving: fights break out, babies cry, kids drop their toys. For everyone’s safety, instead of turning around or reaching into the back seat, wait until it is safe to pull over to attend to the situation.
Don’t attempt to complete tasks while driving. We’ve all been there – running late and didn’t have enough time to eat, put on makeup, fix the tie, sign the school papers…the list goes on. As much as possible leave non-driving tasks for before you get on the road or after you have reached your destination.
Ask passengers for help. For long road trips specially, recruit the help of your passengers to handle the radio, GPS programming, or even your phone. Even the simplest tasks as reaching for something in the glove compartment can prove to be a distraction.
Make use of technology. Most car manufacturers now offer controls for the radio, AC, and to answer your phone right on the steering wheel, minimizing the need to take your hands off the wheel. Again, using Bluetooth to answer phone call does not completely ensure you are not distracted but it at least helps maintain both hands on the wheel.
No task, phone call, or text is worth risking your safety or that of your family’s. Consider putting these steps into place and talking them over with your friends and family.
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