Many believe that driving is a privilege and most appreciate and respect the opportunity. Talk to any sixteen or seventeen year-old person who just got their license, and they’ll be oozing with excitement regarding the newly granted privilege. However, through the years, people are taking driving safety for granted, and drive as if distraction is unavoidable rather than a threat to the safety of others and their own well being.
Of course, most don’t mean to be unsafe drivers, yet actions speak louder than intentions. Therefore, if you want to be a safer driver, avoid the following when behind the wheel.
A leisurely ride is a well-sought pastime of many weekend drivers. Some even reserve second automobiles as their ‘weekend car.’ However, while driving at slower speeds could introduce the opportunity to take in more of the sights, the operator of the vehicle needs to keep their eyes on the road at all times. The opposite is the regret of those who had the unfortunate incidence of taking their eyes away just long enough to rear-end another driver or cruise off the road into a tree, guardrail, etc.
If you want to sight-see while in motion, take a train, bus, trolley, or ask a friend to operate the vehicle while you take in the scenery. Sure, you could get away with occasionally looking away, but don’t make taking your eyes off the road an ongoing habit.
The radio is a great roadway companion, especially for longer rides. However, a significant portion of people forget about the ‘scan’ button that allows the radio to change stations every few seconds. A lot of people click to the next station, taking their eyes away from the road in succession until finding a suitable station. It takes only a second to increase the chances of getting into an accident. The same is true about listening and adjusting CDs, not to mention the act of searching for, taking out, and placing CDs in the player.
Some may be rolling their eyes at the mention of such precautionary measures. Others may think the mention of adjusting the radio or CD is outdated; such people are likely using their smartphones to operate Pandora or using iPods in the car, which are greater safety threats!
Ah yes, drive-thrus, the destination of many who are rushing to school, work, friend’s houses, or just in the mood for a bite in the car. Fast food is incredibly convenient; one does not even have to leave their vehicle to order and obtain food. Moreover, one does not have to wait to get home to eat, anxiously opening bags, putting ketchup on burgers, and passing orders to others in the car, which all invite opportunity for distraction and impending accidents! Some even try to steer with their knees so they can add sauce to their to-go taco, burger, or hot dog. Different attorneys may charge different fees for car accident injury cases, and some are quite affordable, but do your best to never be in the position to need to find out! Such multitasking is a recipe for a ride that may quickly turn sour.
Many drivers double as pet owners and parents. While the duties of a mom, dad, and owner include driving to school, friend’s houses, sports practices and games, and the vet, it’s important to keep eyes on the road and to maintain concentration. Cats should be kept in containers when in the car (Most cats hate being in vehicles!), and even if your dog is well-behaved in the car, you need to stay disciplined; that means abstaining from playing and petting while en route. Kids should be wearing their seat buckles at all times and refrain from causing any kinds of distraction for the driver. If rambunctious kids are a regular problem in the car, be sure to ride along with another adult who can keep them from being unruly.
This may be among the biggest culprits of all. The age of cellular phones caused issues when people began dialing or adjusting the volume while driving, but these days, people are texting friends, inserting emojis, checking Facebook, and uploading pictures to a bevvy of social media accounts while driving. Unfortunately, the prevalence of smartphone owners, those who keep phones by their sides at all times, means that at any given moment, there are a number of people driving who consistently take their eyes off the road and other drivers. It’s tempting but do your best to resist looking at your phone while driving. If you must pay attention to your phone, pull off to the side of the road or in a parking lot, coming to a complete stop first. It could mean the difference in paying fines or repair bills, or saving a life, including your own.
In 2011, Keith Magness formed the Law Office of Keith L. Magness, LLC with the goal of providing outstanding legal services to individuals at a fair and reasonable price. Keith has a passion for representing people injured through the fault of others and focuses his practice on assisting victims injured in auto, 18 wheeler, company vehicle, motorcycle, bus and fatal accidents. This focus has allowed him to become a go-to-guy for auto, truck and motorcycle accident claims in New Orleans, resulting in my selection as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association an honor extended solely to the most qualified attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, statute and public profile. In 2015, Keith was awarded the Premier 100 designation by the American Academy of Trial Attorneys. The Premier 100 designation is an honor bestowed on less than 1% of attorneys in the United States.