For some, summer holds different memories. Memories of loss and traumas caused by accidents related to distracted driving. We hear cautionary tales all the time about texting and driving, but more and more we hear of accidents caused by other distractions. Phillips Garcia, P.C. believes it is important to talk not only about the dangers of texting and driving, but driving while distracted in general.
How many times have you found yourself in a new place, and totally unfamiliar with your surroundings? You look to your GPS for help, but the woman tells you to turn into a field. The voice from the GPS now informs you that your route is being “recalculated,” and you feel a slight panic. Reaching toward the GPS to fiddle with the destination, you suddenly find yourself in the emergency lane and someone screaming a few choice words as they speed by.
While these mishaps don’t always result in an accident, the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration reports in 2010, 416,000 people were injured by distracted drivers, and 3092 died. This is 18% of all injury accidents in the U.S. resulting from distracted driving (NHTSA).
As you and your loved ones head out on the road, stay aware of yourself and those around you. Are you tired? Are you unfamiliar with your surroundings? Are you short on time and feel the need to multi-task? While there is no exhaustive list of distractions, consider the following while driving:
- Texting- it can wait until you can safely pull off the road.
- Using a cell phone to check e-mail, play games, surf the internet, or any other activities- this may seem obvious to some, but with such an emphasis on texting and driving, it’s easy to forget that reading an e-mail is just as dangerous.
- Programming a GPS- pull over to a safe place to figure out where you are.
- Emotional driving- often times we don’t think about our emotions as a distraction, but excessive anger and sadness can distract a person enough to cause an accident.
- Chaos in the car- if the kids are punching each other in the backseat and the dog is climbing all over you, pull over in a safe place to address the distraction(s).
- Being unprepared- a little preparation goes a long way when facing the unfamiliar. If traveling in a new place, research your route beforehand. Use online maps to see where you need to go, and look for landmarks to help guide you.
- Forgetting about other drivers- if you miss your turn, don’t slam on the brakes or shoot across traffic to avoid turning around. Find the next safe place to turn around and go back.
- Being in a hurry- having plenty of time to make it to your destination helps reduce stress, especially when driving in unfamiliar places. This includes not having to multi-task because you’re running behind. Grooming and eating while driving are distracting, no matter how effortless they may seem.
If you have been hurt in a Massachusetts accident and would like to speak with a lawyer, just contact us – we want to hear your story.