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April 1st marks the start of the national Distracted Driving Awareness Month and provides an excellent opportunity to remind drivers across North Carolina of the dangers associated with texting or talking while behind the wheel.
According to recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving contributes to more than 3,000 deaths each and every year as well as hundreds of thousands of serious injuries. With increasingly available and complicated personal electronic devices, distracted driving has never been as widespread or as appealing.
Given the dangers presented by modern technology, it is critical that drivers learn strategies to avoid being sucked into the trap of distracted driving. The most common and most dangerous source of distraction is undoubtedly a cellphone. Besides placing phone calls, writing emails, looking up directions and streaming music, phones are also frequently used to send text messages. Texting behind the wheel is one of, if not the most dangerous thing that a driver can do.
The reason that texting is so dangerous is that it requires the physical, mental and visual attention of a driver, ensuring that the driver is paying little if any attention to what is happening outside the confines of the vehicle. Allowing yourself to be consumed with what’s happening on a cellphone dramatically increases the risk that you could be involved in an accident leading to injuries to yourself or others.
Beyond cellphones, other common sources of distraction include eating and drinking while driving, talking to passengers and even fidgeting with radio controls. These distractions have been around for decades and though they may not seem as scary as texting, the reality is that they too contribute to deadly distracted driving crashes each year.
The following are some tips offered by AAA to help drivers avoid distractions behind the wheel. First, drivers are encouraged to direct all their focus to the road in front of them. Actively scan your surroundings, use your mirrors and watch out for approaching vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. By staying engaged, you minimize the chance that your mind could drift and increase your chances of arriving safely at your ultimately destination.
Drivers are also asked to avoid making frequent adjustments to the car or entertainment systems while driving. Instead, make sure that everything is set before you back out of your driveway. Avoiding eating or drinking messy foods and be sure that children and pets are secured in the back seat so that they cannot interfere with your driving.
Finally, if you feel that you absolutely must make a call or send a text message, it is critical that you do so after first pulling the car off the road and stopping in a safe place. To avoid being tempted into using your phone while driving, it’s a good idea to shut off the power and place it well out of reach.
If you, or someone you know, have any questions regarding personal injury claims, please feel free to contact the experienced personal injury attorneys and lawyers in Charlotte, North Carolina at Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation. Call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.
“AAA recognizes distracted driving awareness month with safety tips,” by Drew Gardner, published at WATE.com.
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