Motor vehicle accidents happen every day, ranging from minor to severe, and are almost always the result of driver error. Distracted driving is among some of the most common causes for accidents on the road, accounting for about 25% of fatal crashes. When we think of distracted driving, we tend to associate it with cell phone use, texting, and surfing the web. While this is certainly a major culprit, it is not the only form of distracted driving.
Below are some of the most common causes of distracted driving:
- Talking on the phone and texting: Regardless if you are using a hands-free device or not, talking on the phone is distracting and can lead to an accident. Texting and talking on the phone cause 26% of all car crashes in the country, according to the National Safety Council (NSC). No matter how important a call or text might be, nothing will ever be as important as your life or the lives of others. If a call or text absolutely cannot wait, pull over some place safe and take care of your business before you resume driving.
- GPS: Many of us are heavily dependent on GPS navigation systems to arrive at a destination, but setting up a GPS route while driving can be just as dangerous as whipping out your cell phone to send a text. Any time you glance away from the road you put yourself at risk for an accident, so if you absolutely must use a GPS, be sure to mount it where you can easily see it and raise the volume. This way you can listen to the directions rather than constantly look at the screen.
- Adjusting music or controls: This is something many of us do while driving. Sometimes you need to adjust the temperature of the car because it is too hot or too cold, or perhaps you hate the song that is playing on the radio and need to change it. This takes a bit of your attention to accomplish, however, especially if you need to look away. It might seem like a harmless thing to do, but the simple act of fiddling with the controls in your car can result in an accident.
- Grooming or applying makeup: We have all been late for plans and need a little extra time to look our best, but grooming while driving requires you to take your eyes off the road. Whether you need to put the finishing touches of your look together, use deodorant, or comb your hair, these can all wait until you are safely parked or before you begin driving.
- Talking to passengers: It might seem awkward or rude to ride with someone and not talk to them, but your priority should always be to keep your eyes on the road. Never turn to look at a passenger. Those brief seconds can be the difference between a smooth ride to your destination and a tragic accident.
- Not looking at the road: Many of the aforementioned causes of distractions require one to look away from the road, but they are not the only ones. If you are lost and start looking for a landmark or address, you will be less focused on the road ahead and more preoccupied with finding your destination. Or perhaps there is an accident on the side of the road and you decide to stare and gawk at the damage. These are all dangerous habits and you should avoid them.
- Handling children or pets: If you have children or pets in your vehicle, you might be tempted to give them your attention, especially in cases where your children are yelling at you, or your pet chooses to sit on your lap. Dividing your attention between them and the road is not safe for you or them, so do not allow them to become distractions. Train your pets to refrain from sitting on your lap during car rides and set rules for your children regarding their behavior while traveling in a vehicle.
- Zoning out: Many of us have very specific routines and, when driving on familiar routes, such as the one you might take to work, you probably feel comfortable enough to daydream. Have you ever found yourself arriving at your destination without being able to entirely remember the journey there? Being on autopilot happens too frequently and can be incredibly dangerous, so while you might feel at ease during your drive, do not let it lull you into a daydream that robs you of your awareness and ability to focus.
Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys in New Orleans
If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, you might be eligible for compensation. At Cossé Law Firm, our skilled car accident attorneys are dedicated to helping victims of distracted driving accidents recover the compensation they need and deserve. When you choose to work with us, our legal team will thoroughly investigate your accident and gather any evidence necessary to build a strong case on your behalf.