Every April, the nation marks Distracted Driving Awareness Month. As Houston car accident attorneys, we know how serious the effects of distracted driving can be. Read on to learn vital information about keeping yourself and others safe on the roads.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving refers to any activity that removes your attention from the road. Any form of distraction can endanger you, your passengers and those around you. Examples of distractions include:

  • Texting, including voice-to-text
  • Talking on a cell phone, even hands-free
  • Eating and/or drinking
  • Conversations with passengers in the vehicle
  • Applying makeup, fixing hair, and other grooming activities
  • Reading
  • Looking at maps
  • Using GPS or other navigation systems
  • Playing with radios, CD players, MP3 players, etc.
  • Watching videos
  • Looking for something in the car

Of these, text messaging is one of the worst forms of distraction as it diverts visual, manual and cognitive attention from driving.

Distracted Driving: The Stats

In 2013, 3,154 people in the U.S. died in distraction-related crashes and an estimated 424,000 injured. While the fatalities have decreased by 6.7 percent since 2012, injuries have risen from 421,000 that year.

Here are some more troubling statistics:

  • Of drivers under 20 years old involved in fatal accidents, 10% were distracted at the time of the crash.
  • Across the U.S. every day, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or operating other electronic devices while driving at any given daylight moment.
  • Cell phone use (including texting, reaching for your phone, dialing, etc.) makes you three times more likely to crash.
  • When you send or receive a text, your eyes are off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds. This equates to driving 55 mph for the length of a football field while blindfolded.
  • 20 percent of teenagers and 10 percent of parents admit to having extended, multi-text conversations while they are driving.

The Houston car accident attorneys realize these statistics may be disturbing, but there are ways to mitigate the risks and stay safe.

Tips for Managing Distractions

Cell phones and other distractions are incredibly tempting and hard to avoid while driving. Here are 6 tips to combat this:

  1. Put it away: Remove the temptation of making calls or texting by turning your cel phone off and storing it out of reach in the car.
  2. Pull over: If a call or text is necessary, pull of the road and park your car to do it.
  3. Ask for help: Another option is to ask a passenger to make the call or send the text for you.
  4. Think ahead: Enter information into GPS devices before you start driving. If you have to make adjustments, find somewhere to park before doing so.
  5. Child distractions: Don’t turn around to address situations involving your kids. Pull over and stop to do so. Fighting between siblings and dropped toys can all wait to be dealt with until you are safely parked.
  6. Eyes on the road: Avoid smoking, eating, drinking, grooming, etc. while driving. They all take your hands off the wheel and eyes off the road.

If you were hurt in a distracted driving accident, contact the Houston car accident attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers today.

Provided by The National Safety Council