Tips for preventing distractions and knowing the laws about them
By: Meagan Baron
April 16, 2020
Knowing details about distracted driving can prevent you from causing a car accident. It also decreases the chances of hitting a pedestrian or getting pulled over and receiving a ticket. Furthermore, knowing the dangers and laws regarding distracted driving can help you avoid the temptation of adopting bad habits that can lead to future mishaps down the road.
With the Coronavirus quarantine, many of us are not driving right now except to run to the grocery store. But, having these tips now can help you with your emergency trips, and will be there ready for you once you start driving daily again (hopefully soon!).
Driving distractions can cause accidents and result in expensive tickets. On top of that, what is legally considered a distraction is not always as simple as texting and driving. We gathered some tips to help you and your family be safer out there on the road.
- Pull over and park if you need to use your phone. Calls, texts, GPS inputting, etc. are enough to cause an accident and/or get you a ticket.
- Reaching for something can classify as distracted driving in the eyes of the law. You don’t even have to be reaching for your phone—it could be your purse, a drink, some food, etc. If you need to grab something, it is best to calmly pull over. If there is an object that you know that you will want to reach for, like your morning coffee, it is best to make sure it is easily accessible to you and is secure where it is sitting. The last thing you want is for hot coffee to be spilt everywhere and the cup to go flying somewhere bad like under your brake pedal.
- If you are eating/drinking and do not follow the rules of the road, you can get a distractive driving charge added on. For example, if you run a red light and were drinking your coffee at the same time, you can get one ticket for the light violation and another for distracted driving.
- Handsfree calls can be distracting. Conversations can take away attention to your surroundings, even if your hands remain on the wheel.
- Follow the best rules of the road no matter where you are, but also know the laws in your city and those that you drive in often. Every state and city have different protocols and classifications. Some cities are very strict on what they deem is a distraction.
- Not driving for the weather can get you a distracted driving ticket. If you are found liable for causing an accident because you did not take the necessary driving precautions based on the weather conditions, you can very well be ticketed for driving while distracted. For instance, if it recently rained and the pavement was still wet, and you accelerated too fast, causing you to skid into the other lane and hit another vehicle, you might find yourself at fault for the accident and be given a distracted driving violation.
- Try your best to avoid hazards by not getting yourself in situations that commonly lead to them in the first place. For example, if you know think that you will be tempted to text and drive, put your phone far away from you so that it is physically impossible to do so. Or, maybe you like to snack. Try to eat before you drive so that you are not hungry while you need to be focused on the road. If you get hungry, there are plenty of places to park and eat—going 60 mph on the freeway is not the time unwrap a messy cheeseburger.
- Know the consequences. It is good to know before the fact—it can help you be prepared, and it can persuade you to avoid bad habits. Beforehand, understand what you need to do for the cities that you frequent so that you can follow their distracted driving protocols. And, know beforehand what your insurance will most likely do if you are given a distracted driving ticket. Some things that are good to ask include: how many years it will be counted against you on your insurance bill, the likely cost it will go up by on your monthly bill, how it will impact your ability to drive a company vehicle, etc.
Do you know someone who has an essential job where they are driving to work during this COVID-19 epidemic, like a nurse or grocery store clerk? You can share this blog post with them now through social media, text, or email.
Please be aware that after quarantine is over and you start driving more, there is a high chance that distracted driving will increase. Be ready for high levels of traffic as well. Once people get out on the road again after practicing safe distancing, there will likely be bottled up restlessness that will surface and cause things like carpools with loud friends, long road trips with hyper children, turn signals not being used, speeding, and other drivers getting cut off.
Stay safe, friends! If you have any questions, you can give us a call at 425-320-4280 .