As we enter our 50th year of representing injury victims in Southwest Florida, we recently blogged about the dangers of in-car technology and cell phones when it comes to the risks of being involved in a serious or fatal traffic collision.
But distracted driving is about much more than the electronic gadgetry that has become central to our daily lives. Nationwide, safety advocates report at least 3,000 people are killed and 400,000 injured each year in collisions involving distracted driving. However, the increasingly ubiquitous nature of this technology in our lives means the true risks are actually much higher – by some estimates involved in one-third of the nation’s traffic collisions, resulting in more than 10,000 road deaths each year.
Many of these victims were not in another vehicle at the time of the collision. About 1 in 5 of the people who died in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2018 were not in vehicles―they were walking, riding their bikes, or otherwise outside a vehicle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Our car accident attorneys in Cape Coral and Fort Myers know cell phones and in-car technology are responsible for many serious and fatal traffic collisions each year. But they are far from the only culprits when it comes to vying for the attention of drivers on the road.
Avoiding Distraction on the Road – Just Drive
They teach pilots to, above all else, “fly the airplane.” Never stop flying the airplane. It sounds simple, but it is a marvelous mantra when it comes to cutting through distraction. The more serious the distraction, the more critical the message: “fly the airplane.”
So, just drive.
Even after you put the phone down and resolve to not be distracted by the increasingly dizzying array of in-car electronics, there are many other ways to let your eyes or your attention stray from the task at hand: “Just Drive.”
“Stay Alive – Just Drive,” is not just the slogan of a local traffic safety organization, it is critical advice.
Other common forms of driver distraction include:
Passengers: Teens are particularly at risk, with statistics showing a teen’s risk of being involved in a serious collision increase exponentially with each teen passenger in the vehicle. However, smaller children and pets are also a common distraction.
Eating and drinking: We all lead busy lives. Eating and drinking in the car have become routine for too many. Whether grabbing a cup of coffee on the way to work in the morning, or hitting a drive-thru for a socially distanced lunch, recognizing that eating or drinking should never be done while driving can help keep your eyes on the road, your hands on the wheel, and your mind on the task: “Just Drive.”
Grooming: We see it all the time in the morning, don’t we? Combing your hair, applying makeup, or even shaving, are not tasks to be done during your commute: “Just drive.” If you must, do them in the parking lot once you arrive at your destination.
Outside distraction: Road construction is the most dangerous external distraction we face. But events, roadside advertising, and even other traffic accidents, can distract us from our true responsibilities while at the wheel: “Just Drive.”
It’s a simple message. But for too many of us driving has become a mundane task to be endured — even though it is typically the most dangerous part of our day. So resolve in 2021 to do what you can and keep yourself safe at the wheel.
If you or a loved one is injured, call Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Attorneys for the Injured, at 1-800-646-1210.