What Are the Risks of Distracted Driving?

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Written By Juliet D'cruz

If you already use the Mr. Checkpoint app, then you know how handy it can be to have real-time SMS text alerts regarding DUI checkpoints near you. Far from serving as as a mere deterrent from particular routes, DUI alerts enable you to take important steps towards responsible driving – this includes not going over the limit, driving with your full attention on the road, and refraining from taking part in activities that could get you in trouble with cops, such as texting friends or driving over the speed limit.

What is the Effect of Distracted Driving on Safety?

According to the most recent data published by the NHTSA, 3,477 individuals were killed due to distracted driving, and around 391,000 injuries occurred in accidents involving inattentive drivers. The data indicated that over half a million people used cell phones while driving during the day, a habit that is highest among those aged 16 to 24 and lowest among those aged 70 and older. Often, people lack an awareness regarding the effects distractions have on driving ability; habits such as fixing hair or makeup in the mirror, reaching for sunglasses in a remote corner of the car or even turning back to talk to passengers can mean the difference between a safe journey and an accident. It is imperative that efforts are made to prevent distracted driving, especially among commercial truck drivers, as a distracted truck driver can have even more severe consequences on the road.

What Type of Distractions Can Affect Our Driving?

Distractions can range from an unfocused mind (thinking of problems or ‘daydreaming’ to the point that one becomes unaware of what is occurring on the road) right through to visual distractions (using a GPS device, searching for a house or building without realizing a car has stopped in front of you, etc.). Eating, adjusting the time or other controls, and having poor quality or insufficient sleep can make it difficult to focus, and can drive when under the influence.

Tackling Distractions

It is vital for drivers to analyze the type of distractions they tend to succumb to. If daydreaming is the main problem, practices such as mindfulness meditation can teach one valuable technique that enables one to give full attention to the present moment – which ideally we should all be doing when driving. Other distractions (such as making calls, adjusting the dashboard menu and the like) can simply be taken care of before departing or after arriving at our destination. Before drivers turn the key in the ignition, they should think of everything they might need during their drive, including sunglasses, their music player, Bluetooth connection to their mobile phone, etc.

Technology can also be helpful; specific apps such as Truemotion block text messaging and, in the case of teens, alert parents when the safety mode is turned off. Since young drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents while using a cell phone, this type of app can significantly reduce their risk of an accident, but also ensure that their insurance premium doesn’t suffer as a result of accidents.

If you are involved in an accident involving distracted driving, it is important to find out about your rights and consult with distracted driving attorneys. Moreover, they can provide you with very essential legal advice on how to handle such situations in the future, making them an indispensable resource in the aftermath of distracted driving incidents. But it’s also important to take proactive steps for the future. Honing your mindfulness can benefit you in many ways, grounding your mind to the ‘here and now’.

Anti-distraction apps and planning will do the rest of the work, ensuring that there is no need to fidget, search for items, or make a call. Mr. Checkpoint, meanwhile, will let you know when law enforcement is nearby – a nice reminder to be your most alert self on the road. Did you know that for as long as 27 seconds after using a cell phone, you can experience a ‘hangover effect’ in which you are mentally distracted? You can travel the length of nearly three football fields in those 27 seconds.When it comes to your and others’ safety, every single second is precious.

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