Distracted driving is a very real problem on American roadways, causing countless accidents, injuries and fatalities every year. These accidents are also largely preventable, if motorists simply take responsibility for avoiding certain behaviors while their cars remain in motion. While there is not much you can do to keep others from engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, you can assume responsibility on your own end and commit to refraining from any distracted driving behaviors that commonly lead to accidents. Here is a look at some steps you can take to keep yourself safe and improve the safety of others sharing the roadway.
Put the phone away, or power it down
Though it is not the only type of distracted driving behavior, texting behind the wheel is arguably the most well-publicized. While hands-free phone laws are becoming increasingly common from coast to coast, they are not yet in place in all areas, and even in states where such laws do exist, they are not always followed. Regardless of where you live, power your phone down or put it away before you start driving, and hold off on pulling it back out until you are somewhere stationary, with the keys out of the ignition.
Keep pets properly restrained
It can be tempting to let your pooch hang out the car window and feel the wind in its fur, but it is safer for you, the animal and anyone else on the road if you keep pets crated or otherwise restrained while in the vehicle. Not only can they jump on your lap or in your line of vision, distracting you from the task at hand, but they can also suffer injuries of their own if you are to stop suddenly and they are not adequately restrained.
Pull the car over before disciplining children
Maybe it is due to the close quarters, but kids often act up while in the back seat of a vehicle. While it can prove tempting to turn around and yell at them or yank away a toy that is causing trouble, doing so draws your eyes away from the roadway and therefore places everyone in and outside of your car at risk. If you must discipline your children promptly, pull into a parking lot or a safe, well-lit area on the side of the road. Let your kids know you mean business, and that this type of behavior simply will not be tolerated in the car.
You can modify your own behaviors to avoid distracted driving but cannot always control the actions of others. If you suffered injury or hardship because someone else drove while distracted, consider consulting an attorney.