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5 Critical Truths About Defensive Driving
The fact April is National Distracted Driving Awareness month tells you just how serious this issue has become. Talking to a passenger, texting a friend, taking a quick bite to eat – all seemingly innocent actions – can cause devastating losses to yourself and other drivers.
Consider these sobering statistics:
- 3,154 people are killed annually due to distracted driving
- 424,000 people are injured due to distracted driving
- Distracted driving is a contributing factor in 24% of all automobile accidents
- Drivers using cell phones can miss up to 50% of their visual environment
- Distracted driving costs more than $175 billion annually
Maybe it’s because driving is so familiar to the average motorist or perhaps it’s simply the fact there are more distractions than ever before, but the above statistics confirm people are paying less attention to driving and suffering greater consequences because of it.
There are multiple best practices we can follow to increase our driving awareness. More specifically, there are five critical truths that will particularly help us refocus our attention to become a more effective driver.
1. You need all your senses engaged to be a safe driver.
Driving is a fully-involved, total-concentration exercise, yet how many times do we almost literally fall asleep at the wheel? Your eyes are needed to capture all the input. Your ears are needed to perceive sounds. Your brain is needed to make sound decisions. Your hands are needed for uncluttered dexterity. Lapses in any area can be disastrous.
2. You can’t fully concentrate on more than one situation at a time.
The myth we’ve heard for decades about effective multitasking is being exposed as researchers now see that the brain is only capable of giving its attention to one task at a time, not several. When entertaining multiple tasks, the brain simply switches back and forth from one to another. The result is often less work completed of lesser quality in a longer amount of time.
3. Even a moment’s distraction puts you at great risk.
We’ve all done it. We think that looking away or down or over for just a moment’s notice won’t make a difference. The reality is that even a slight distraction means a lot at high speeds and increased traffic. Fact: Sending or reading a text in as little as five seconds at 55 miles per hour is like driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded. A little can be a lot.
4. Cell phone misuse is the leading cause of distracted driving wrecks.
It's easy to point our finger at a single cause for distracted driving crashes, but the fact is cell phone use – texting, phoning, searching online – is the major contributor in an alarming number of cases – almost one in four incidents. Because so much of our lives are linked to our phones, it stands to reason that they would play a major role in our distracted driving.
5. Today’s driver is getting more distracted than ever.
The world is getting faster and data and distractions are coming at us more frequently. Even our cars are vying for our attention as they get more connected and use advanced technology. All of these factors keep our eyes, ears, minds, and hands occupied and less focused on our driving objectives.
There are several solutions available for more attentive driving – from turning your car stereo down, to eliminating your cell phone use while in your car, to reducing your number of passengers, to pre-thinking the conditions and obstacles that may confront you while on your drive.
The reality is that driving is a serious matter and we can all do a lot to make sure we’re more focused on the road ahead and less distracted on everything else.
Amy Witherite, founder and lead counsel at Witherite Law Group, says, “The sad truth is that most car wrecks caused by distracted driving could have easily been avoided. People simply don’t pay attention. They get sidetracked. And that one moment of distraction ends up costing them, and sometimes others as well, greatly in health, repair costs, and inconvenience. We all need to take distracted driving to heart and be better about it—because people matter. ”
The truck accident attorneys of Witherite Law Group help those who have been injured in a car or truck accident. Get legal help today by calling 1-800-CarWreck® or 1-800-TruckWreck or visiting www.WitheriteLaw.com. We’re available 24/7.