Distracted driving is a common topic in the news. You’ve seen campaigns about the dangers of texting and driving. News stories pop up all the time about distracted drivers causing accidents. Because of this, Florida law prohibits texting and driving.
However, other forms of distracted driving are legal and may not be as obvious. You may participate in some of these activities yourself without realizing what’s at stake.
What constitutes distracted driving?
Distracted driving involves any act that draws a driver’s attention from the road. According to the CDC, this can be any activity that requires your visual, cognitive or manual attention which distracts you from driving. Types of distracted driving include:
- Eating and drinking
- Engaging with other passengers
- Getting lost in thought and emotion
- Adjusting climate control, audio and other car settings
- Writing or reading
- Reaching or searching for objects in the vehicle
What can you do?
Most drivers probably have engaged in one of the activities mentioned above. With busy lifestyles, ever-increasing technology and drive-through restaurants it’s hard not to take part in these activities from time to time. However, you can take steps to minimize distracted driving by doing these practices:
- Pack snacks that you can eat when you arrive at your destination or eat before leaving.
- Enter your destination into your GPS before shifting into drive. If you are already on the road and need to enter an address, pull over to do it.
- Avoid driving after a fight or receiving difficult news.
- Make rules for the passengers in your car to follow. Pull over if conversation becomes too loud or engaging.
- Consider public transportation or ridesharing when distraction is unavoidable
Why does it matter?
If you are involved in a car accident it may not be clear-cut as to who is at fault. This is a complicated issue, especially if both drivers were participating in distracting activities. You don’t want to take on any blame because you were eating or trying to add an address to your navigation system.