Young woman distracted driving in car

It’s pretty unlikely that you haven’t heard of the dangers of distracted driving. Our state has recently started to take the problem more seriously. It’s been just over a year since Florida’s texting and driving law went into effect. Though we don’t have updated statistics just yet, hopefully this law has kept us off our phones. But other distractions still loom in our vehicles that we might not have noticed.

Last year, Polk and Hillsborough were among the Florida counties with the highest numbers of distracted drivers. What’s contributing to this scary fact? Let’s take a closer look.

What Does Distracted Driving Mean?

Distracted driving is anything that takes your mind off of the road. This means more than just texting. Distracted driving can include:

  • Doing your makeup on the way to work
  • Turning around to check on your kids in the backseat
  • Eating your lunch from that fast food drive-thru you just stopped at
  • Thinking about your plans for the weekend and not about the road in front of you

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) has three categories of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual is when your eyes are off the road. Manual is when your hands are off the wheel. Cognitive is when your mind is off driving. Texting is so dangerous because it’s visual, manual, and cognitive all at once. But remember that all types of distractions can lead to crashes or fatalities.

The Effects of Distracted Driving

When you drive distracted, you drive dangerously. In 2018 alone, there were almost a million car accidents involving distracted drivers. Of these, a tragic 8% proved fatal. Surprisingly, only 13% of these distracted driving deaths involved cell phone use. That means other distractions were at play.

Distracted driving keeps you from seeing problems and hazards ahead of you. Your reaction time is slower, and you may not be able to avoid it in time. Texting and driving reduces your reaction time by the same amount as having a BAC of .08%, the legal limit. This should make you think twice before checking your phone or other things in your car.

How to Stay Focused While Driving

The first thing to do to stop yourself from distracted driving is recognize the risks. If you aren’t focused, you aren’t safe. Driving is not an easy task, even for the most experienced of drivers. You should exercise an abundance of caution and make sure you aren’t putting yourself in harm’s way. Think of your passengers and the people around you too. You don’t want them to get hurt because you were distracted!

If you absolutely have to do other things while driving, be smart about it. Have one of your passengers answer texts for you instead. You could also use your car’s hands-free system to make calls and answer texts. Just make sure that the road ahead is your first priority while doing so.

If there’s a distraction in your car, like a crying child or a bug stuck inside, don’t drive! It’s easier and safer if you pull off the street into a parking spot. Put your car in park and deal with the problem then. Don’t get stressed and try to do everything at once—you could get hurt.

We hope that these tips help keep distracted driving down in Florida. Do you think it’s improved at all in the past year? Let us know in the comment section!

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident due to distracted driving, contact us today. Brooks Law Group’s experienced attorneys are ready to handle your case and get you the compensation you deserve.

Steve was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. As was the practice for new doctors his father worked day and night during his medical residency at Charity Hospital there. Steve comes from a long line of doctors. His father, his grandfather, his great grandfather, even two uncles were all specialists and/or surgeons in their chosen medical specialties, including internal medicine specialist, obstetrics / gynecology, neurosurgery and general practice / surgery. His great-great grandfather was the Surgeon General of Ohio during the Civil War.