Distracted Driving in Texas: 5 Ways You Can Minimize Distractions

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According to AAA Texas, in 2021 the state experienced a 17% increase in traffic deaths related to distracted driving. A total of 431 Texans died in distracted driving crashes and another 2,935 were seriously injured.

Distracted driving crashes are 100% preventable and it is the responsibility of each driver to stay vigilant and prevent collisions. There are many distractions that plague Texas drivers including cell phone usage, other vehicle passengers, eating and drinking, and even daydreaming. Below is a list of ways to combat distracted driving.

5 WAYS TO MINIMIZE DISTRACTIONS WHILE DRIVING

1. Keep your eyes moving

  • There are three common types of distractions that affect drivers: visual, manual, and cognitive.
    • Visual distractions direct the driver’s eyes away from the road.
    • Manual distractions cause drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel.
    • Cognitive distractions divert the driver’s mental focus away from driving the vehicle.
  • To combat these distractions, regularly sweep your eyes across the rearview mirror every five to six minutes to keep your mind from wandering.
  • Regularly change up routes you take often to keep your mind engaged.

2. Drive a safe speed

  • “In 2021 a total of 1,522 people were killed because of speed,” said Transportation Commissioner Laura Ryan.
  • Safe speeds change with weather and road conditions – adjust to your surroundings and follow posted speed limits.
  • Leave enough room between vehicles to react to any potential hazards.

3. Have a plan

  • One of the easiest steps to take to avoid distracted driving is to have a plan.
  • Before starting your trip, set the navigation and plan your route.
  • According to a study by iDriveSafely, 51% of drivers admit to looking up directions while driving and 18% admitted to looking up a restaurant, bar, or store.
  • Actions like programming your location and changing navigation settings can be as dangerous as texting while driving.
  • At just 55 mph, you can drive the length of a football field in about 4.5 seconds so looking down for just a few seconds while changing navigation can be extremely dangerous.

4. Turn off temptation

  • Around 27% of all car accidents involve the use of a handheld or handsfree device.
  • Research released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that:
    • 91% of drivers believe emailing or texting while driving is a serious threat to their safety.
    • 39% admit to having read an email or text while driving.
    • 29% admit to typing an email or text while driving.
  • TxDOT developed a list of free app options to combat this issue by rewarding safe drivers for not using their phones while driving:
    • LifeSaver detects when you are driving and blocks phone use. This is targeted to parents who would like to track their children’s driving habits. Parents are alerted when their teen uses their phone while driving.
    • You in the Driver Seat is created for people ages 16-25 and allows the driver to earn gift cards for having “safe” trips.
    • Safe 2 Save awards points to drivers for each minute they drive over 10 mph without touching their phones. These points can be used for discounts at local businesses.

5. Avoid other types of distractions

    • Other common distractions include talking to passengers, eating and drinking, smoking, and driving while drowsy.
    • Drowsiness can increase risk of a crash by four times.
    • An estimated 21% of fatal crashes and 13% of crashes with severe injuries involve a drowsy driver.

CONSULT WITH AN EXPERIENCED CAR ACCIDENT ATTORNEY

It is up to every driver to keep Texas roads safe. If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence, reach out to our experienced attorneys at McCraw Law Group for a free consultation.