Driving has certainly changed over the past 10 to 20 years. It used to be that all you needed to feel concerned with was driving safely while getting from Point A to Point B. With smartphones, mapping devices, highly technological sounds systems in the car, and other types of distractions going on today, getting around safely is more of a challenge.
Not only do you need to fight your own urge to become distracted, you need to be on alert for other drivers who may be paying more attention to a distraction inside of the car than the road. Here are three clues to watch for that indicates someone you’re sharing the road with may be distracted behind the wheel:
- Sudden or erratic braking: A driver who isn’t paying attention to the road ahead won’t notice that cars in front of him or her are stopping until it nearly becomes too late to avoid a collision. Look for someone who frequently slams on the brakes or even appears to brake when it isn’t necessary.
- Drifting away from the center line: A driver who rides too close to the lane divider on either side, crosses lanes, or frequently swerves to avoid crossing lanes is probably not paying close enough attention to the task of driving. Try to maneuver your own vehicle as far away from the offending car as possible as the driver is most likely engaging in multi-tasking while behind the wheel.
- Lingering too long at a stop light or stop sign: If a light turns green and the driver in front of you doesn’t accelerate right away, he or she could be reading a text message, talking on a cell phone, or changing the radio station instead. The only thing you can really do is honk to get the driver’s attention and wait for him or her to proceed through the intersection.
If you suspect that a driver’s erratic behavior is due to distraction, you can call 9-1-1 to report it to the local police. However, you must wait until you’re in a safe location with your own vehicle stopped before you do so. Although it can be frustrating to share the road with distracted drivers, you must never take matters into your own hands and act aggressively towards the other driver. You need only take steps to ensure your own safety, contact the local authorities, and leave it at that.
How Not to Allow Yourself to Become Distracted Behind the Wheel
With so many things vying for your attention as you drive, it’s important to resolve not to give into them. Placing your smartphone on silent mode as soon as you get into the car is perhaps one of the most important things you can do. You don’t need text, email, and social media notifications while you’re driving anyway. The only time you should ever use a cell phone as a driver is after pulling over to report an emergency. Here are some other tips to consider:
- Program your GPS before you leave home. If you find yourself lost anyway, never try to adjust the GPS while you’re driving. You should pull over and re-enter the information instead.
- Don’t eat or drink while driving: When it seems like there’s a drive-thru restaurant on every corner, it can be hard to resist the urge to pull into one. Keep in mind that it’s hard to navigate a steering wheel when you’re holding food or a beverage with one hand. Hot coffee is especially dangerous.
- Get ready for the day at home: Make sure you brush your hair and teeth, shave or apply make-up, and complete all other grooming tasks before you slip into the driver’s seat.
- Know your car’s controls: You might reach to adjust the temperature only to discover the knob is not where you thought it was. In the few seconds it takes you to adjust, you could collide with another vehicle.
Help for Victims of Distracted Driving
Perhaps you do everything right and still ended up severely injured due to someone else’s distracted driving. Haygood, Cleveland, Pierce & Thompson, Attorneys at Law, are here to help. We encourage you to contact us at 334-821-3892 to learn more about the process of filing a personal injury lawsuit.