Don’t be a Distracted Driver: Top 5 Things You Should Never Do While Driving

by Tim O’Hare

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One in 10 deaths on America’s roadways is caused by distracted driving. In 2010, nearly 3,100 people died as a result of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says progress has been made in the last three years, as local and federal governments have implemented programs raising awareness about distracted driving, but people are still dying.

The Top 5 things you should never do while driving:

1.     Talk on your phone. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, there were 3,409 cell phone-related traffic accidents and 46 fatalities in 2010 in Texas. The use of handheld cell phones takes one hand off the wheel and your mental focus off the road. The safest option is to pull off the road and park safely before making a phone call. If you just can’t break the habit, at least use hands-free calling, although some would argue it is just as dangerous. In 2008, the American Automobile Association (AAA) released a statement saying hands free devices provided drivers with a false sense of security.

2.     Text while driving. The statistics of accidents caused by distracted driving, such as texting while driving, are alarming. A 2009 study found that individuals who text while driving spend 400% less time looking at the road compared to non-texting drivers. Other research has shown that the risk of crashing while text messaging behind the wheel is more than double that of talking on the phone while driving.

3.     Driving while impaired. Drunk driving is the ultimate form of distracted driving. Also in this category: driving while impaired by drugs (illegal or prescription.) When you are under the influence of any kind of drug or alcohol, you should not be on the road.  Period. Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment and reduce your reaction time.

4.     Program your GPS. GPS systems can take a driver’s focus off the road. What’s worse is that many drivers program their GPS while driving, which is no better than sending a text message or reading an email while driving. Safely use navigation technology by programming your GPS before you start driving or asking for help from passengers in your car. Do not mute your GPS while driving. Using turn-by-turn voice navigation is far more safe than looking at a map on your GPS device.

5.     Reach for items behind your seat, apply makeup, update social media profiles, send e-mails or read. Any of these activities take your focus off the road and can lead to serious accidents.

By eliminating distracted driving, thousands of lives could be saved every year. Keep yourself and your family safe and make a commitment to keep your focus on the road while driving.

If you have been seriously injured or lost a family member in a car accident, contact The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare and ask to speak with Dallas personal injury attorney Tim O’Hare. Call us today at 972-960-0000, or toll-free at 1-888-960-0020.

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