Before you send that text or tweet behind the wheel, ask yourself… Can this wait?
In most, if not all cases, it can.
Distracted driving has become an epidemic for deaths among people around the world. But, it is 100% preventable.
Distracted driving comes in many forms. It is not always your smartphone to blame. Here are some common distractions for teens behind the wheel…
Obviously, this is the big one. Whether it is taking #CarSelfies, checking Facebook, or texting your friend to let them know you’re on your way, you are not fully focused on the road when you are on your smartphone and it is extremely dangerous. Even if you are texting without looking, no one is actually a properly focused driver while texting. Studies have shown that 37% of your brain activity is now focused on texting while it should be on driving. Your eyes may be on the road, but your brain is not.
Food Or Beverages
Opening a granola bar or reaching for a drink could take your eyes off the wheel, even if it’s for a moment. Furthermore, if you spill anything, you will be distracted to clean it up. Reaching over for napkins to clean up the coffee on your pants, innocent as it seems, could result in a serious car crash.
Changing the station or singing along with the music seems harmless, but it is also a distraction. The five seconds it takes to change the station and take your eyes off of the road may be responsible for taking the life of a pedestrian crossing the street.
Yes, people actually do it. Putting on mascara or combing your hair while driving is very dangerous. Most of your focus is no longer on the road, it is worrying about applying your lipstick evenly. That lipstick is not worth causing a car accident.
The distraction could be as simple as looking at them while you’re talking. Maybe they wanted to show something to you on their phone. Or perhaps you are having an argument with your passenger. These are all forms of distractions to the driver that could lead to a fatal car accident.
The numbers do not lie. Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the U.S. It may be a surprise to some, but 75 percent of teens killed in traffic accidents are not the result of alcohol or drugs. Teen distracted driving kills over 4,000 teens and injures an additional 400,000 annually. In a recent survey, 98 percent of people claimed that they know it is dangerous to text while driving, yet 75 percent admit that they still use their phones to talk and text while driving. #CarSelfie and #DrivingSelfie are top hashtags on Instagram with tens of thousands posting these photos every day. In an average month, 916 statuses are tagged #DrivingSelfie by 884 users to reach a total of 1.26 million social media users, making 1.3 million impressions. Meaning, these 884 users are showing off their #CarSelfies and making it a trend for millions of other teens to try. Moreover, AAA found that mental distractions can last up to 27 seconds after the distraction has taken place. Therefore, that text you read in only five seconds…well, you are still thinking about it almost 30 seconds later; while you are operating a moving vehicle. This type of unaware driving could lead to running stop signs, not paying attention to other drivers, and slower reaction time. In no time at all, your vehicle can turn into a weapon if you do not invest 100 percent of your attention into driving which could turn into a negligence lawsuit.
How To Prevent Teen Car Crashes Due To Distracted Driving
Preventing teen fatal car accidents due to distractions can be narrowed down to reminding your teen about abiding by these three easy steps…
1. Put your phone away even before starting the car.
Texting, writing a Tumblr post, or calling your boyfriend or girlfriend can wait until you reach your destination.
2. Put on your seatbelt, adjust your mirrors, and choose your music before putting the car into gear.
This way you will not have to look away from the road while choosing which Drake song you want to play.
3. Don’t let your eyes linger from the road too long while driving.
Chances are, you will see that funny billboard again. Don’t take your eyes off the road for an extended period of time.
Distracted driving prevention can also be prevented by example. Parents, if your child sees you texting and driving from a young age, they are going to think it is okay to do as well. The old, “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality does not cut it here. It did not work for us, and it is not going to work for them. Many parents of teens who have died in distraction-related accidents blame themselves for not being a better role model. An Ohio dad Brock Dietrich knows this all too well. His 17-year-old daughter, Sydnee Williams, died in a car accident while using her phone behind the wheel. He says he regrets not setting a better example for his daughter. “It comes down to not lecturing to them, but providing the teens with the information to encourage them to make the right decisions when they are in the car.” Essentially, we want our children to know that they are capable of making their own choices, while it may not always be the popular one, but they should be able to say no, say stop, or say “let me get out.”
Keeping Your Teen Safe During Prom Season
Prom has become a right-of-passage among high school teens. For some, this is the night they have been dreaming and planning for most of their lives. Sadly, Prom night has been host to many recent car accidents. While it can be a night of fun, dancing, and laughs among friends, it can just as quickly turn fatal if distracted driving is involved. Teens, while we want you to have the time of your lives, we also want you to be safe. Please, do not drink and drive on prom night and pay attention to the road. While you have been counting down the days to this event, don’t let this night be your last.
Sadly, many think they are invincible when it comes to car accidents involving distractions. Some believe that just because they have a license, they are capable of multitasking behind the wheel. They have the “It won’t be me” mentality that is ultimately their downfall. This fatal epidemic can be stopped. Preventable deaths should not keep occurring and it is our job to end this lethal problem.
If you or a family member suffered from injuries or even wrongful death due to someone else’s negligence caused by distractions on the road, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help.
Injured in an auto accident? Then, you need one of the best accident lawyers in Central New York to represent you. You should not have to suffer physically or financially due to the negligence of someone else. Brindisi, Murad, Brindisi & Pearlman, The People’s Lawyer is a group of experienced personal injury lawyers in Syracuse NY and Utica NY that will fight for you to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.
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