Resolve to Drive Distraction Free in 2021
For many folks, 2020 was the year of resolutions that didn’t quite work out as planned. The pandemic upended day-to-day life in so many ways, making even the most approachable goals—like going to the gym more or traveling—suddenly out of reach. But it also readjusted priorities, reminding all of us of what we value most.
As we enter 2021—a year still full of unknowns—it may help to rethink resolutions, choosing a few we know we can keep. Driving distraction free ticks plenty of the typical resolution boxes: It’s related to health, wellbeing and responsibility. It’s also a goal you can continue to pursue every time you climb into the car.
How to begin driving distraction free
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving claimed 2,841 lives in 2018. But in spite of the tremendous loss associated with distracted driving, many of us still reach for the phone when we get a text alert, fiddle with the GPS navigation or queue up a new playlist or podcast at a red light.
Anything that takes your eyes off the road can be considered a distraction—talking to passengers in the car, adjusting the speaker volume or even eating. But most commonly, the distraction comes from a smartphone. Just sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds.
It may seem challenging at first, but beginning to drive distraction free can be easy. To get started, you’ll want to:
- Turn off your phone when you get in the car, or stow it somewhere you can’t reach it. This is key. The temptation to check can be too great when your phone is on the seat beside you.
- Set up your surroundings. If you need to use your phone for GPS navigation, make sure it’s secured in a mount while you’re still parked. Enter the address and preview the route. If you’re listening to music, get it set up before you hit the road, then turn off alerts for texts and social media.
- Remember that pulling over is an option, so long as it’s safe to do so. If your GPS has led you astray or you need to send a text, pull into a lot or a side street.
Also be aware of how much you rely on your phone’s hands-free options or your car’s entertainment system. Just because it’s a feature included by automakers does not mean it’s a safer alternative.
How you can help others drive distraction free
Young people are especially at risk for distracted driving. According to the CDC, 9 percent of teens killed in auto accidents died in crashes involving distracted driving.
And in 2019, 39 percent of high school student drivers said they’d texted or emailed while driving at least once in the past 30 days.
Younger drivers can encourage peers to focus on the road by speaking up when they’re a passenger, offering to manage navigation and entertainment. (Teens can also use social media to help spread the word, just like the winners of our Buzzell, Welsh & Hill 2nd Annual College Scholarship Program.)
Parents can also make a difference by having conversations about distracted driving—setting family expectations that meet or exceed Georgia’s distracted driving laws. Some apps help minimize distractions for teens and give parents peace of mind. Pledges may also help, showing teens just how serious the matter is. Most importantly, though, parents can begin modeling safe, distraction-free driving long before they have a teen behind the wheel.
Personal Injury Attorney in Macon, Ga.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you need a Macon personal injury lawyer with experience. The Macon personal injury attorneys at Buzzell, Welsh & Hill will help ensure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact us for a free consultation today.