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The Risks of Driving While Distracted

Most people have experienced distractions while they are behind the wheel. Unless you are a brand-new driver and put all of your focus on learning how to navigate traffic, you may shift into “auto-pilot” mode from time to time. Other things can take your attention away from watching the road.

Distracted driving is, at best, a hazardous situation. It is, at worst, a major accident waiting to happen. Keeping your focus on driving is challenging sometimes, but it’s critical.

What Happens When Drivers Get Distracted

You can cover a lot of distance when you take your eyes off the road, even for a few seconds. Have you ever glanced away for a short time while driving 55 miles per hour? You may travel the length of a football field before returning your gaze to where it should be.

Driving in a metro area means you are going more slowly. However, that’s where traffic, pedestrians and signals are all around you. By the time you unwrap your cheeseburger, you may overlook the pedestrian in your path, run a red light or miss a reduced-speed traffic sign.

As distracted driving increases in frequency, officers watch drivers more closely than ever. You may get pulled over after getting distracted and missing something you shouldn’t have. If that happens, it’s a good idea to call a Florida traffic ticket lawyer. A free consultation allows you to ask questions about your case without financial risk. An experienced attorney knows the law and potential defenses to driving infractions.

The best policy is to avoid distracted driving in the first place. It dramatically reduces the odds you will be in an accident.

Common Causes of Distracted Driving

Many things can cause you to take your eyes off the road. A common distraction for many drivers is their phones. Hearing the alert sound of a new text message can seem irresistible. You may think checking briefly to see who it was can’t hurt. You may also believe that quickly answering a text won’t cause a problem. However, looking at your phone takes your eyes away from driving. Picking up your phone takes one hand off the wheel.

Many people eat while driving. It is understandable — maybe you have to run errands during your lunch hour, or you’re hungry while on a long trip. Eating and driving are a dangerous combination. You take one (or two) hands off of the wheel to handle your food. You may drop something on your lap and look down to see how big the mess is. Perhaps your box of fries is on the floor, and you reach down to get it. Eating is distracting for many reasons.

Paying attention to your music device can also take your attention away from driving. Maybe you want to skip a song on your playlist or flip through various radio stations. Worst of all, you may try to call the radio station to enter a contest while you’re driving. Your attention should be directed toward the road, not your music device.

How To Avoid Distracted Driving

You can take proactive steps to prevent yourself from getting distracted behind the wheel. Consider trying the following:

  • Silence or turn off your phone. That way, you won’t hear the alert sounds if you get a text, email or phone call. Keep your phone well out of reach so that you won’t be tempted to grab it.
  • If you need help navigating, have a passenger do it for you. Your passenger can look at the GPS and read directions out loud. If you must navigate alone, familiarize yourself with the route before setting out. Turn on the GPS volume to listen to directions instead of looking at the map.
  • Pull over to eat meals. It may take a little longer, but it can save you from getting into an accident (and making a mess).
  • Start your music before you drive off. Resist the urge to scan different radio stations. Use your presets to change them, and consider waiting until you get to a red light.

Distracted driving is a common occurrence. That said, it comes with many dangers. Make an effort to minimize the chances you’ll get distracted behind the wheel — it can save you from an accident.

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