Although all Tennessee drivers are aware of the laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, distracted driving is somewhat of a gray area simply because most acts of distraction are not illegal in most states. As a result the odds of you encountering a distracted driver while behind the wheel is statistically very high.
According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, there are over 30,000 fatal car accidents each year in the United States. Tennessee experiences on average right at 1,000 deaths due to automobile accidents each year. Of the various reasons such fatal car accidents occur, one of the leading causes is distracted driving. Distracted driving accounts for over one million car accidents each year, and over one in ten fatal auto accidents is caused by a distracted driver.
Common Driving Distractions
Distracted driving is most often associated with cell phone use. Whether it is texting while driving, talking on the phone, or using a smartphone to look something up online, cell phone use is clearly a driving force behind distracted driving accidents. However, there are many other distractions inside a vehicle that can lead to an accident as well, including:
- GPS system
- Audio system
- Eating or drinking
- Other passengers
Distraction.gov recently provided a four prong common sense, easy to employ approach to incorporate with your defensive driving in an attempt to help keep people safe from distracted drivers:
1. Understand What Constitutes Distracted Driving
There are three main types of distracted driving, they are as follows: Manual which is when one takes his or her hands off of the steering wheel; Visual which is when one takes his or her eyes of the road; And Cognitive which is when one takes his or her mind off of driving.
Many common distractions incorporate all three of these things, making it the perfect deadly combination.
2. Drive Defensively
It might be tempting to try and speed up and overtake or even just get angry at a distracted driver, but actually the best course of action is to fight distracted driving with defensive driving. Give them a wide berth of the road, and keep your distance. If someone is not paying attention he or she may be prone to braking suddenly, and swerving to avoid things. For this reason, it is important to keep a long distance behind a distracted driver.
3. If Necessary Alert The Police
Obviously you can see what the problem might be with calling the police to alert them of a distracted driver. But if you see someone who is driving erratically, to the point that it is dangerous to themselves and other drivers, you may want to pull over or take down the license plate number and call the police when you arrive at your destination. Of course, this is only necessary in extreme cases.
4. Don’t Become Part Of The Problem
The fight against distracted driving starts with each and every one of us. We cannot directly affect the way that others drive, but we can make sure that we avoid distracted driving by not checking our phones, eating before we leave, or saving that conversation for once you have reached your destination. It can only happen one driver at a time, but if you practice safe driving, and encourage others that you drive with to do the same, we will be able to decrease traffic deaths one person at a time.
With all that said, you could be the most defensive driver on the road and still end up the victim of an auto collision caused by the negligence of a distracted driver. If you have been injured in a car accident, you should seek the services of an experienced, competent personal injury lawyer. Contact Michael Pence for your consultation.