Distracted driving - driver using cell phone

How can you avoid distracted driving? Not texting is a start, but there’s more to safe driving.

Driving distractions cause thousands of accidents every year, many of them fatal. That’s why we want to take a look at what you can do to avoid certain distractions when you’re driving.

Distracted Driving and Statistics

Lakeland Collegiate High School Senior Natalia Diaz writes about this in her submission for the 2023 Brooks Law Group Scholarship entry:

You’ve seen headlines like this all around your city or town, on your T.V., and even on your social media accounts. Distracted drivers come in all shapes and sizes, all makes and models. And even if you’re not one today, you could become one at any moment – in the time it takes you to answer your phone or check the kids in the back seat. But before you say, “I can talk on my phone and drive just fine,” think about this: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and U.S. Department of Transportation, in 2016 nearly 400,000 people were injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers – and in 2015, more than 3,400 were killed.

Natalia continues with, “In 2020, over 84,000 Floridian teenagers were involved in a crash of some sort. 350 of those ended fatally. What should the next steps be? Obviously, teenagers are not going to give up their beloved cell phones just because they are in a vehicle.”


distracted driving - driver holding cell phone

Common Driving Distractions

It’s not just about texting, either. Although that is perhaps the most dangerous distraction, there are many others that can impact how you drive, whether you realize it or not. Here are just a few examples of the things that can distract drivers on the road:

  • Talking on the phone, even with a hands-free device
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming (yes, there really are people who apply makeup or shave on their way to work)
  • Reading, including maps
  • Adjusting the stereo

How to avoid distracted driving

Younger drivers are the most distracted of all – according to the NHTSA, teens were the largest age group reported as distracted at the time of fatal crashes. With distractions more prevalent than ever (billions of text messages are sent in the U.S. every month) how can you, and those you love, be safer behind the wheel? Here are a few tips:

1. Don’t use the phone while driving

This includes texting as well as talking unless it’s an emergency. Even hands-free conversations can take your attention off the road.

2. Eat either before you leave, or after you get there

Scarfing down that burger with one hand on the wheel means your focus is divided. This means you probably don’t have as much control over your car as you should. (Also, keeping your meals and your driving separate means you’re much less likely to get ketchup on your pants.)

3. Know where you’re going

Nobody likes to be lost. But messing around with your car’s GPS (or the maps app on your smartphone) while you’re moving can lead to something you’ll hate even more: an accident.

4. Talk to your family about safe driving

Is your spouse calling you for a chat as they’re driving home? That’s a perfect opportunity to say, “I’ll let you focus on the road; we can talk when you get here.” And if you have young drivers in the household, be sure to have a conversation about their phones and other potential issues, such as their passengers – a key distraction for teens.

5. Watch for other distracted drivers

Just because you aren’t distracted doesn’t mean that other drivers are focused on safe driving. Stay in control and be vigilant – you’ll be ready to react when someone else makes the wrong move.

Distracted driving isn’t just “one of those things” that happen, like a tire blowout or mechanical failure that isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s 100% preventable – and by committing to avoiding distractions while you drive, you’ll help make the road safer for everyone.

It’s our goal to keep you safe on the road. But in case you are ever injured in an accident: Brooks Law Group can help you navigate the legal process in the Tampa Bay Area. Contact us for a free case evaluation!