What Is the Definition of Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaged in other activities. These activities may attention away from the road and what’s going on around you with disastrous results. Legally, the state of Arizona is one of the very few that does not have a widespread law that addresses distracted driving. That said, several individual cities and counties have enacted laws to help curtail this dangerous habit. In addition, if you are in an accident and you were distracted the other party may have a much easier time proving you were at fault and are liable for the accident and any ensuing damages. While distractions are plentiful, it is important to remember, it only takes a second for an accident to happen.
Types of Distracted Driving
When there are just not enough hours in the day, it is all too tempting to try and multitask while in the car. While no one can fault you for trying to make the most of your time, you need to weigh the risk versus reward. There are many distractions for drivers; see below for the most common examples. Are any of these items worth your life or the life of someone else?
- The Stereo
- All the miscellaneous things you feel need to get done
Cellphones are one of the most common sources of distracted driving. People use their phones to talk to friends, text and send pictures of videos, often while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle. Many states are now outlawing or limiting the use of phones while driving. Some studies show that talking on the phone while driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk. The number of accidents caused by this particular distraction is sobering. “The National Safety Council’s annual injury and fatality report, “Injury Facts,” found that the use of cellphones causes 26% of the nation’s car accidents”. With more than a quarter of car accidents attributed to cellphone use, it is imperative to give your full attention to driving and be particularly attentive to the behaviors of drivers around you.
There’s nothing worse than running to work on an empty stomach, but swinging by the drive through and eating on the way can be dangerous. You’ll have to remove at least one hand from the wheel to hold your food of choice and if you accidentally drop your meal it could cause you to take your eyes off the road. Eating is an all too common but nonetheless dangerous distraction.
Music can be your best friend while on the road. But incessantly changing the stations or fighting with your uncooperative stereo, Bluetooth, or iTunes on your phone can all lead you to stop paying attention to what’s going on around you. Whenever you get into the car, try to setup your stereo or source of audio entertainment in advance. If you are listening to an audio book and you know you are getting to the end of a disc, go ahead and listen to the last few minutes before you pull out of the driveway. Then start a new disc and head out on your adventure. A few minutes of prior planning can save you a distraction, possible accident and many costly headaches down the road.
Family and friends can make anything more fun, including road trips or even just running errands around town. That said, they can also make driving more dangerous. Sometimes a person can become overly engaged in conversation and become distracted. While it is fine to talk to your passengers, try to keep your eyes on the road and your mind focused on what is going on around you. Whenever you are driving, you must remain vigilant. Some states now have limitations for new drivers to help prevent these very types of distractions. In Arizona, a teenager driver with a graduated license in not legally allowed to drive on a public highway with more than one additional minor unless the minors are siblings. There is an exception to this law if a parent or guardian is in the passenger seat.
Sometimes people are just too tired to drive. When you do not get enough sleep your cognitive function and reflexes are slower, making you more susceptible to accidents. You may not be able to process what is going on around quickly enough or be able to hit the brakes in time to prevent a crash. If you are simply too tired to be a safe driver on the road, take a break and a nap.
You can often see people in traffic doing things like putting on makeup or reading the paper. While it may seem perfectly fine to indulge in these activities, these are additional distractions that take your attention away from the road.
Protect Your Car Against Distracted Driving
Even if you don’t indulge in any of the distracted driving practices listed, there are plenty of people around you who do. Make your vehicle as safe as possible by paying attention to the road and the vehicles around you at all times. Protect your vehicle and your financial security with comprehensive auto insurance. If you do not have adequate auto insurance or would like an insurance professional to review your existing coverage, call Gebhardt Insurance today.