We all know about the dangers of texting and driving. Cases of drivers causing car accidents while texting have made headlines for years, and at least 46 states in the U.S. now have laws banning texting and driving. But what about other dangers of distracted driving? In today’s mobile world where we spend a fair portion of our lives checking social media and interacting with smartphone apps that make tasks easier, isn’t any form of distraction dangerous when behind the wheel?
The answer to that question is a resounding “Yes”. In 2016, numerous car crashes and accidents occurred after gamers got caught up in the Pokémon Go sensation. In a 2016 survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance, it was revealed that 70% of teenagers say they use smartphone apps while behind the wheel.
Another survey sponsored by the National Safety Council revealed that 74% of drivers of all ages have used Facebook while driving. Other apps like Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram were also popular choices. In an era where our news, entertainment, and communication options swirl around us like a windstorm, choosing when to pay attention to the storm—and more importantly, choosing when not to—is vital.
Seconds of Distraction Can Lead to an Accident
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 1,000 people per day are injured in car accidents involving distracted driving. Among those injured, more than 8 people every single day are killed. These statistics include activities such as talking on a cell phone, using smartphone apps, texting, and doing tasks like applying makeup or eating.
When it comes down to it, any task that has the potential to take a driver’s eyes away from the road for a period of more than a few seconds can lead to a deadly car crash. Many individuals do not think that quickly glancing at a social media feed or reading a text message takes long, but in the time frame of a few seconds, a vehicle traveling at high speeds can transverse a large space. Within a period of three seconds, a car on a busy highway can decide to change lanes or swerve to avoid a piece of debris.
Despina Stavrinos, director of University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Translational Research for Injury Prevention (TRIP) Laboratory, said in an interview about distracted driving with CNN that, “when you are engaging in social media while driving, you are taking your eyes off the road for long glances… glances over two seconds that significantly increase your crash risk.”
Taking Steps to Minimize the Risks
Minimizing the risks of all forms of distracted driving begins with one essential step—awareness. When we know how dangerous it is to spend even a few seconds glancing at a social media feed while behind the wheel, we, as a nation, collectively learn to become more careful and wait until it’s safe to find out what’s going on in the world. Our lives and the lives of others around us must come first.
There are numerous organizations and advocacy groups focused on spreading the awareness of the dangers of distracted driving as well as educating drivers on how to practice safe driving techniques. StopDistractions.org is one such organization, founded by a mother who lost a family member in a crash caused by distracted driving. Other organizations offer pledges that family members can partake in.
Finally, we can also utilize our smartphones to help us and our loved ones remember not to get distracted while behind the wheel. Drive Beehive, Wonder, AT&T Drive Mode, and Life Saver are a few good options we recommend.
For more information on distracted driving or to get in touch with a Georgia attorney who can help you during the aftermath of an unfortunate car accident that was caused by a distracted driver, contact Bey & Associates today. We can pair with you a skilled and knowledgeable Atlanta, GA car accident attorney who can help you and your family obtain justice.