Avoid Distracted Driving This Holiday Season
With Christmas right around the corner, tens of millions of Americans will be out on the road to celebrate the holiday with their friends and family. More people hit the road for long-distance travel, which increases their stress and fatigue while driving. It’s more important than ever to avoid distracted driving activities and keep your focus where it belongs–on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accounted for over 3,000 traffic fatalities in 2020. You can stay safe and avoid distracted driving mistakes with these tips this holiday season.
Avoid Cell Phone Usage
Due to a rise in accidents involving cell phones, California law now prohibits the use of hand-held devices while driving. This includes making phone calls and sending text messages. According to the National Safety Council, cell phones are to blame for approximately 1.6 million car accidents each year. Drivers who follow the state law are less distracted and are at a much lower risk of experiencing an accident out on the road.
Don’t Eat or Drink in the Vehicle
Eating and drinking are distractions that take your hands off the wheel. This can make it more challenging for you to react as quickly as you should on the road. At any given time, you could experience a sudden change in the speed of traffic, or other drivers could change lanes at the last minute. These kinds of events require defensive driving, which is the ability to safely respond to potential roadway hazards. When you’re multi-tasking by eating and drinking while driving, your defensive driving skills become less reliable. You will be slower to react to changing conditions on the road, increasing the likelihood of being involved in a car accident.
Adjust Vehicle Controls Before You Hit the Road
Changing the radio station, adjusting your seatbelt, and turning on the air conditioning might seem like quick and simple actions, but in reality, they remove your full attention from driving. Taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds can be too long, especially at high speeds. It’s safest to make any adjustments before you start driving. Once you’re out on the road, it’s best to allow passengers to handle these non-driving activities.
Prevent Driver Fatigue
Driver fatigue, or driving while you are physically or mentally exhausted, can be a distraction that significantly impairs your driving skills. During the holiday season, you may need to drive for long stretches at a time, and the lull of the road could make you zone out. For example, you may arrive somewhere and not remember how you got there. If you aren’t properly rested, you may also have slower reactions to various conditions on the road, drift from your lane, and possibly fall asleep behind the wheel. It’s essential to your safety and the safety of those around you to avoid driver fatigue as much as possible. You should ensure that you get plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours) before a long drive, and if you do grow tired, you should switch off with another driver in the vehicle or simply pull over to a safe place to rest, such as a highway rest stop. It’s a good idea to have these mapped out before you venture out on a long road trip.
Avoid Road Rage
It can be challenging to deal with the increased traffic on the roadways during the holidays. You may find that more drivers make impulsive decisions as they navigate unfamiliar streets and freeways. It’s important to exercise some patience and remain calm at all times when dealing with other drivers. Becoming angry is an emotional distraction than can cause you to engage in aggressive driving activities, such as tailgating, speeding, or cutting off other drivers. These are extremely dangerous and will put you at high risk of becoming involved in a serious accident. In fact, the NHTSA reported that speeding was the top cause of fatal crashes in 2019. You can help to keep yourself and other drivers safe by maintaining the speed limit and avoiding other aggressive driving behaviors.
Don’t Drive Impaired
You may be attending any number of holiday celebrations over the next few weeks. As you engage in these festivities, you should keep safety in mind. Driving while under the influence is a cognitive distraction that you can’t afford. It significantly impairs your judgement out on the road, placing yourself and others at high risk of being involved in a serious, if not fatal, accident. As you’re partaking in various celebrations this season, ensure that you have a designated driver behind the wheel to protect yourself, your passengers, and other motorists.
Avoid Passenger Distractions
It can be all too easy to become distracted by other passengers in the vehicle. However, looking and talking to passengers make it harder to focus on the road as well as you should. You may miss an important traffic change if you’re too busy conversing with others in the vehicle. Keeping conversations brief and maintaining your eyes on the road will help to reduce your accident risk a great deal.
Use a Mounted GPS
Using your hand-held phone as a GPS is just as dangerous as texting. Inputting addresses and glancing at the directions takes your eyes off the road, which can result in disaster. It’s best to ensure that your device is mounted on the dash in clear view. You should also utilize the audio function so that you can listen to the directions rather than rely on the monitor. This will ensure you can get where you need to go safely without impairing your ability to focus on the road.
Involved in a Car Accident?
If you have been injured in a car accident with a distracted driver, you should seek immediate legal representation to protect your rights. At the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones, we have partnered with many accident victims throughout Bakersfield and the surrounding areas. We will work hard to help you obtain fair compensation for your injuries.
A car crash can leave you financially, physically, and emotionally devastated. Not only will you have hospital bills that you need to pay, but you may also have to take some time off work to recover from the accident. If your injury is debilitating, you also have to think about future lost income. You might have to make car repairs before you can safely get back on the road. If someone else was at fault for your accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for these all on your own. However, the claims process can be challenging, and the insurance company will attempt to settle for as little as possible. They may use deceptive tactics in efforts to reduce your claim. It’s crucial to have an experienced car accident lawyer on your side. We will review every aspect of your case and ensure every detail is accounted for so that you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries.
Contact Us Today
Ready to get started on your case? Contact the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones today to set up a free, no-obligation consultation with a car accident lawyer in Bakersfield.