In a world where smartphones and long commutes are the norm, multitasking while driving your car can seem more smart than dangerous. However, if you have ever been behind the wheel to glance over at another driver texting, you have likely seen the resulting poor response time and ineffective driving. Distracted driving continues to be a major concern that leads to increased insurance rates for everyone, serious injuries and even death.
What is distracted driving?
Technically, distracted driving is driving while doing anything that takes your attention away from the road. You can become distracted while changing the radio station, grabbing something out of the backseat for your toddler, or even eating your lunch. However, with the prominence of the smartphone, distraction while driving is now at a new level.
Being able to check your email, look for Pokemon, glance at a real time traffic report, and update your Facebook status from your phone offers temptation to become distracted to even the most safe drivers. After all, what harm can come from checking your voicemail while stopped at a traffic light? Unfortunately, any type of multitasking while driving is unacceptable and dangerous.
What causes distracted driving?
According to an article in US News, our brains are not made for effective multitasking. Texting or even talking on your phone uses the same amount of active memory as the task of driving. It is impossible to do both tasks – driving and texting – effectively at the same time.
However, it isn’t just texting or updating Twitter that causes distracted driving. Checking your voicemail or talking on the phone, even while using a Bluetooth device, has the same dangerous effect.
How does distracted driving affect me?
Distracted drivers are everywhere, and their poor driving affects everyone. More than 40,000 people died in traffic accidents in 2016, a 14% increase since 2014, according to a recent Time article. There is a direct correlation between the rise in smartphones and the rise in lethal and other vehicle accidents.
But it isn’t just injury or death that can result from distracted driving. Insurance premiums are increasing across the board to cover these extra accidents caused by distracted driving. In short, you are paying a higher premium because most people are texting or talking on the phone while driving.
What can I do to prevent distracted driving?
Distracted driving is serious, but you can do your part to reduce your risk. Make a conscious effort to stop using your cell phone, even with a Bluetooth device, while you are driving. Turn off your notification alarms and slide the phone into your bag, under your front seat, or even in the trunk. Your phone is still available in case of emergency, but you won’t have access to it to tempt you to check that one email while on the road.
Have you been injured as a result of distracted driving? Give us a call to set up a consultation so that we can learn more about your situation.