After years of trending downward, fatal car accidents have been on the rise, and most experts blame distracted driving as a leading culprit for the upward trend. Distracted driving comes in many forms: cellphone use, navigational systems, friend in the car, eating, etc., The good news is there are some relatively easy ways to reduce the chance that you will be distracted behind the wheel. Here are some tips on how to just drive:
- Use a customizable app to prevent incoming calls and messages. If you don’t know someone is texting you, you do not have the urge to respond. For those of you that worry about being available for emergencies, these apps will allow you to set it up so that calls from your Favorites are allowed or to allow calls to come through if the same caller phones twice in a row. And so that people know you are driving and won’t be responding to texts, they get an automatic message.
- For parents, it is imperative to be a good example on this issue. You lack credibility with your teens when tell them not to text and drive if they see you doing it routinely. The same is true of eating while driving and other behaviors.
- Of course, knowledge is power so The National Safety Council is offering a free online course about distracted driving. You must register by April 21, 2018, but once you register you will have fourteen (14) days to complete the course. This is a great option for newer drivers but something drivers of any age can benefit from. The link is below and the access code is “distracted” https://course.safetyserve.com/finesource/attend/key_activation_corp.asp?ugid=A0150C66&nm=newusr&msg=ERROR%3A+Invalid+or+Expired+Access+Code%2E
- Make teen drivers sign a contract that clearly outlines your expectations of them behind the wheel. Google “teen driving contract” and you will get all sorts of options that you can customize as you see fit. If they violate the contract, take away the car, the phone or both.
- Limit the number of friends that can ride with your teen drivers. There is a plenty of evidence to prove that as the number of friends in the vehicle increases so do the chances of an accident.
- Set your play list and your navigational system before you put the vehicle in drive. If you need to make adjustments, either pull over for a moment or let a passenger handle the task for you.
- For parents of littles, the temptation to turn around and reach for a dropped toy or drink is real but the better option is to pull over to fetch it or let an older sibling help out.
- Remind yourself that law enforcement is getting creative in trying to catch distracted drivers. The City of Clarksville recently used a minivan with darkened windows to watch drivers. When they saw distracted drivers, they would radio to another officer in a marked police car who then pulled the driver over and wrote them a ticket. Not only will you face the cost of the ticket but just think about what a ticket for texting and driving will do to your insurance rates. Suffice it to say, that will be one expensive text message.
At The Law Offices of John Day, P.C., our award-winning lawyers work every day with victims of car accidents caused by carelessness. We offer a free initial consultation and we handle all car accident cases on a contingency basis, so we only get paid if we win. We hope you do not need us but we are here if you do. Call us anytime at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free)