Distracted driving kills more than 3,100 people in the United States every year. Any accident may impact your auto insurance rates, but this type of tragedy is 100-percent preventable. Learn more about what constitutes distracted driving and how to avoid activities that prevent you from focusing on the road.
What Is Distracted Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines distracted driving as anything that takes your attention away from driving. Texting often takes the blame for distracted driving. However, plenty of other things people do in the car put everyone around them at risk. In these days of high-tech gadgets, electronics in the car itself distract you from the road. The following activities also command our attention behind the wheel:
- Texting, talking or net surfing on your smartphone
- Eating and drinking
- Talking to your passengers
- Using the entertainment or navigation system
To put things into perspective, you have to take your eyes off the road for five seconds to read or send a text. If you're driving at 55 mph, you could cover the length of a football field in that time.
The Law in Your State
Distracted driving laws vary by state. However, many states have passed laws against talking and texting on your cell phone while driving.
Visit the Governors Highway Safety Association to find out the laws where you live and the consequences of breaking them. For example, 39 states and the District of Columbia ban cell phones from the car completely for new drivers while 20 states and D.C. forbid bus drivers from using cell phones while driving.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
AAA recommends the following tips to avoid distracted driving:
- Secure your kids and pets before you leave the driveway or parking lot.
- Turn off your phone unless you need it for navigation.
- Do not check texts and messages while driving. Put your phone out of sight if necessary.
- Ask your passengers for help to avoid distractions.
- If you need to give your undivided attention to your children or any emergency call, pull over immediately to handle the situation safely.
- If possible, turn your phone off or leave it behind if you can't resist checking your messages.
Ultimately, distracted driving is about more than keeping your car insurance rates down and not getting caught making a driving mistake. Remember that there's a lot riding on your wheels and that other people on the highway count on you to drive safely.
Also Read: How to Save Money with a Young Driver on Your Auto Insurance