Distracted Driving Prevention Guide

Distracted Driving Prevention Guide

For a teenager, being able to drive a car represents a whole new level of freedom and independence. However, it’s also a major new responsibility, as driving presents a potentially deadly risk to life and limb not only for the driver but also passengers and pedestrians. The dangers involved with driving become even greater when there are distractions. Unfortunately, as a driver, you’ll be faced with a wide range of distractions, from eating to looking at unusual or interesting sights on the road. Teenagers and new drivers need to learn what makes distracted driving dangerous and how to avoid engaging in this activity.

Safe Driving Basics

All drivers should follow certain safety rules regardless of age. One of the most important safety basics is to obey traffic rules such as driving the speed limit and following traffic signs and signals. Drivers should drive defensively, which means being prepared and aware of what other drivers on the road are doing and may do. Yield to aggressive and reckless drivers, and allow enough space, typically between 2 to 4 seconds, between your car and the car in front of you. To successfully accomplish this, you must be alert and not distracted by anyone or anything when behind the wheel of a car.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving means driving while your attention is on something other than the road. Brian Joslyn, a Dayton criminal defense lawyer advised there are three types of distractions can happen while behind the wheel of a car: manual, visual, and cognitive. Manual distractions are ones that cause you to remove your hands, either one or both of them, from the wheel. Visual distractions are distractions that cause you to look away from the road for any length of time. Cognitive distractions are those that shift a driver’s mental focus away from driving. In some cases, distracted driving can be caused by a combination of two or more distractions.

Statistics and Facts

Most states have laws against distracted driving, and for good reason. To understand the seriousness of distracted driving, it helps to know the facts. In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that driving while distracted had claimed 3,450 lives, which was 9.2 percent of all driving-related fatalities that year. On average, 481,000 people use their phone while driving during the day. Some studies estimate that at any time of the day, as many as 660,000 drivers use their cell phones, and as a result are distracted, while on the road. For teens, the behavior of the adults in your life can also impact your driving behavior. If you’re a teen whose parents drive distracted, for example, you are up to four times more likely to do the same. The NHTSA has also found that that cell phone use while driving results in as many as 1.6 million crashes annually. Sixty percent of teen car crashes are caused by distracted driving, and crashes and near-crashes specifically involving cellphones are highest among young drivers. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous, as a driver who texts is six times more likely to get into an accident than a person who is driving under the influence of alcohol. As a teen driver, you are at a greater risk of getting into a distraction-related fatal accident when there are passengers in the vehicle. One passenger doubles the risk, while more than one passenger increases the risk by as much as five times.

Cell Phones and Texting

It’s hard to imagine not having your cell phone. It’s an important part of how people communicate and interact with friends and family. As the statistics show, however, cell phones are a serious danger to drivers, their passengers, and others on the road. When a person takes their eyes off of the road for a 5-second text while going 55 mph, they’ll have traveled approximately the distance of a football field without seeing what’s happening around them. The best way to avoid sending or answering a call or text is to turn your phone off entirely before starting your car. To reduce any temptation, put it someplace that’s out of sight and inaccessible without stopping the car and getting out from behind the wheel.

Teens and New Drivers

If you’re like most teens, driving is arguably one of the things that you most look forward to. Due to a lack of experience, however, the danger that comes with distracted driving can be even greater for both teens and new drivers of any age. In addition to talking or texting on smartphones and interacting with friends, other distractions can steal the focus of a teen driver, such as music, live-streaming or taking selfies or putting on makeup. Both new and teen drivers can help reduce the risk of distracted driving by taking defensive driving courses. It’s also important that teens avoid distractions from outside sources, even scenery.

Resources and Apps to Prevent Distracted Driving

As dangerous as distracted driving is, it is preventable mentioned our Dayton DUI lawyer. Understanding the risks associated with this type of behavior is important, and a number of apps and resources can help drivers be more accountable for their actions. They do this in several ways depending on the specific application. Often, these apps block text messages, calls, or both while the car is in motion to prevent drivers from sending text messages. Other utilities may send a notification to your parents if you’re likely to be driving while distracted.

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