Imagine closing your eyes for five seconds while driving 55 mph down a busy road, which means you will be traveling blind for about 400 feet. Five seconds is the average time a driver takes his or her eyes off the road to text, and millions of people do it every day – some with deadly consequences.
Distracted driving was a problem long before the age of smartphones and smarter cars, with deadly diversions running the gamut from tuning a radio to applying a dab of makeup. Those distractions still exist, but they are nothing compared with the challenge of getting people to put down their cellphones and properly manage the many electronic devices and other challenges that are part of driving computer-age cars.
In the Sunshine State alone, distracted driving killed more than 200 people in 2015 and injured more than 39,000. And with the snowbirds and tourists flocking to Florida to escape the rest of the nation’s bitter winter weather, Floridians have the added challenge of a seasonal surge in traffic.
Stay Safe This Snowbird Season
There are several tips you and your loved ones can take to manage distractions and make the roads a safer place this winter:
- Commit to driving distraction-free. (The group End Distracted Driving provides a printable pact that families can sign, the Family Safe Driving Agreement, that commits everyone to driving safely and helping others do the same.)
- Get all your adjustments done (music, mirrors, makeup, etc.) before the driving starts.
- Secure children and pets before the drive begins.
- Before you start the ignition, think about what text messages you might need to send, and send them before you start the trip.
- Don’t use cellphones or other electronic devices while driving. (Consider putting your phone where you can’t reach it.)
- Don’t eat while driving.
- Save the serious discussions for later.
- Know the state and local laws on the use of electronic devices while driving, and follow them.
- If something must be done that will distract you from driving, pull off the road and do it safely.
You can and should take steps to avoid distracted driving. Unfortunately, you can’t control what others do, and the rising number of deaths and injuries on U.S. roads underscores the risk you and your loved ones face when you get in a car.
Getting Help After a Distracted Driving Crash
If the worst does happen, it helps to know where to turn for help in pursuing the compensation you need to recover from a serious injury. The dedicated car accident attorneys at the law firm of Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & Ryles have spent more than 30 years building a reputation as fierce litigators who care deeply for the communities of Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Contact us today to learn how we can fight for the compensation you deserve.
National Safety Council