Driving is a very important part of life. You drive yourself to work, to the grocery store, to family functions, and just about anywhere else that you want to go. While driving, how safe do you think you are? Do you wear your seatbelt? Are you completely focused on the road and your surroundings? Many people will answer yes, but the truth is there are many distractions that are not accounted for in an everyday driving situation.
Common Distractions While Driving
Many things can be a distraction while driving. The following are the most common distractions for drivers on the road today.
Talking on the Phone
This is one of the most common forms of distracted driving. The phone rings, typically, drivers answer because they either want to talk or the phone call could be important. Helpful tip: set up a professional sounding voicemail greeting, such as, “Hi, you’ve reached [insert name], please leave your number and message and I will return your call pleasantly soon.” Having a professional voicemail greeting encourages callers to leave a message. This enables you to drive safely, but also allows you to feel confident that your caller will be responded to in a timely manner. Call them back when you get to your destination. If you feel the need to answer immediately, pull over onto the shoulder of the road, turn on your flashers, then accept the call. It's not worth it to risk being involved in a car accident, and that call is definitely not more important than your life.
In litigation, requests for cellular telephone records is almost a standard practice. It allows the party to determine if the other driver was talking on the phone at the time of the accident. In many cases this is sufficient for a jury, judge or arbitrator to find negligence against the party using their phone while driving. Public Service Announcements (PSA) frequently show the dangers of this activity but it continues to be a major problem – especially among younger users.
This law offers authorities in the state, and other states that have this ban, to pull over anyone suspected of driving while using a cell phone for texting or other purposes. However, it does give permission to those who have Bluetooth headsets or hands free headsets to use them while driving. Ultimately, drivers are not allowed to type or text with any device that is considered a communications device while driving. This also includes reading, texting, e-mailing, and instant messaging. Replying to a Facebook comment while you’re driving could cost you.
A major issue that is being seen with this law is that not everyone abides by it privately. People of all ages are guilty of hiding their phone to where it cannot be seen from an outside view. Hiding the phone allows them to read or text without the fear of being caught by the local police officers. With the ability for the police department to subpoena records from your cell phone company to prove the times you texted or received texts, it’s not worth hiding it.
Those who are caught using a cell phone while driving will be fined. The first fine can be up to $100, the second $200, and the third $250. However, upon the third offense the driver could have their license revoked or suspended. Nevada residents both agree and disagree with the ruling of this law. They expressed their concerns and agreement with the law while it was in discussion. This law has been in place for over a year now, but the statistics about driving while using these devices in relation accidents has been varied and unclear so far.
Texting While Driving
Although this deals with a cell phone as well, texting is not only taking your focus mentally from the road but physically. You have to take your eyes off the road to read the texts, then you respond, taking a hand off of the wheel and potentially causing an accident by being less focused on the road and the surroundings.
Why Texting and Driving Is a Recipe for a Car Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,450 people lost their lives in auto collisions in 2016 due to distracted driving. While all distractions are unsafe, texting is especially dangerous because it involves three levels of distraction:
- Visual – When a person is texting, his eyes are off the road.
- Manual – One or both of a person’s hands are off the steering wheel when he is texting.
- Cognitive – The task of sending a message takes a driver’s mind off driving.
People who are texting fail to realize just how far they can travel and how much can happen around them when they text. If they are traveling at 55 miles per hour, they will drive the length of a football field in just five seconds. Even if they are driving more slowly on Henderson’s busy streets, they can fail to see many dangers—such as the driver in front of them slamming on his brakes—when their eyes and mind are focused on reading or sending a text.
Searching for Something
When you’re looking for that lighter to light your cigarette or that phone that just slid off the dash, you are taking your focus completely off the road. Maneuvering your body in a position to be able to reach an object can potentially endanger yourself and others.
Fixing Your Appearance
This could be anything from straightening up a tie to applying makeup. In that split second that you are focusing on your appearance, a child or animal could run out in the middle of the road, the car in front of you could slam on their brakes or any number of quick-reaction scenarios. Helpful tip: pull over a mile before arriving to your destination or in the parking lot of your destination and adjust your appearance.
Eating & Drinking
Eating and drinking anything while driving can cause people to take their thoughts and eyes off the road, but there are some foods that pose a particular risk. The following types of food and drink are most risky:
Hot drinks like coffee and soups can cause serious and distracting injuries. In addition, when liquids drip onto a person’s clothing, he can become more concerned about not staining his clothes and forget the attention he needs to focus on his driving.
Fried foods and pizza
Foods like fried chicken and pizza are greasy—especially if purchased at a fast-food restaurant. This can cause a person with greasy fingers to lose his grip on a steering wheel or gear stick.
Crumbs and dropped foods
Like with drinks, a person who spilled crumbs and bits of food on his clothes could be worried more about his clothes than keeping his eyes on the road.
Adjusting the Navigation System
Imputing the information into the navigation system can distract you from what other drivers are doing around you. Someone else could also be distracted causing a rear end, collision, or side swipe of your vehicle. You have to be prepared for other drivers. Defensive driving can help protect you and your vehicle. Helpful tip: input all navigational information prior to moving your vehicle.
Distractions are everywhere. Focusing on someone on the side of the road can ultimately cause an accident if your focus is not completely on the road ahead of you. Distractions that are visual, cognitive, and manual can all occur while you are driving. It’s knowing these distractions and avoiding them that could save your life and the lives of others.
Have You Been Involved In A Henderson Or Las Vegas Car Accident?
If you've been injured in a car accident you need to speak with an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our Henderson office directly at 702.405.6000 to schedule a free initial consultation.