Do you feel like the roads should be far safer than they are? Maybe you learned that tens of thousands of Americans die every single year in car crashes. You cannot believe how little press these overall numbers get, seeing as how they make driving the most dangerous thing most people do on a daily basis. How could things be so bad in 2019, when we have so much technology and development focused on auto safety?
Your concerns make sense. Cars have seat belts, airbags, lane departure warning systems, front and rear cameras and many other safety features. They should keep people alive in ways simply not possible 20 years ago. And yet the roads continue to claim a vast amount of lives annually. One reason that things are still so bad is distracted driving.
Risk factors for a crash
Distraction means doing anything that takes your attention away from driving your car. When you engage in these activities, you:
- Abandon control of the car
- Miss critical events
- Overlook important objects
- Miss cues on the road
For instance, reaching down to pick up a cellphone causes you to let go of the wheel, abandoning control. Typing a text message means you look down at the screen, causing you to miss important traffic cues or events on the road ahead of you. These two things combine to cause accidents when drivers make avoidable mistakes.
It goes beyond physical activities, as well. A mental distraction can cause a crash. A driver who gets lost in thought or feels preoccupied while driving may not mentally process the risks ahead of them, even when looking directly at them and still holding the wheel. That driver could run a stop sign, for example, that he or she should have seen easily.
The proper mindset
When people get in the car, they must take on the right mindset. They need to understand the significant risks that they face. They have to commit to thinking about driving, watching the road, keeping their hands on the wheel and focusing on the task at hand until they arrive.
That's hard for many drivers because they simply drive so often. It starts to feel safe, natural and even boring. They forget that moving at 55 miles per hour is inherently dangerous. That's when they let their focus move off of driving and they make mistakes they should never make. They have to stay in the right mindset, properly focused on driving, no matter how much experience they have or how many times they have driven down the same stretch of road.
After an accident
Distracted drivers put everyone at risk. If you suffer serious injuries in an accident, make sure you are well aware of the legal rights that you have.