Close up of a businessman using mobile phone while driving a car

3 Tips to Help You Avoid Distracted Driving

 The Law Office of Steve Brannan July 27, 2022

For many of us that have been behind the wheel for years, driving an automobile seems relatively simple: watch the road, press the gas, press the brake, steer. Over time, the basic tasks associated with operating a vehicle become routine, and we do them without thinking much about it. 

Although having confidence and comfortability behind the wheel can be a good thing, nearly every driver is also guilty of some form of distracted driving. These driver distractions are everywhere, and when drivers fail to focus their full attention on the road, they are more likely to injure themselves, their passengers, and others on the road. 

At The Law Office of Steve Brannan we have the resources, knowledge, and experience to assist those injured by distracted drivers. If you are in Odessa, Midland, Big Spring, Pecos, Andrews, or throughout communities in West Texas, reach out today for the guidance you need. 

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention away from the primary task of driving. 

Generally, there are three main types of distractions: 

  • Visual — taking your eyes off the road

  • Manual — taking your hands off the wheel

  • Cognitive — taking your mind off what you’re doing

Within these three categories, there is a lot that can quickly and easily distract a driver. The most common distractions a driver can face are:

  1. Texting or using a cell phone (this also includes using a GPS device or navigation app)

  2. Using vehicle controls (radio, climate settings, etc.)

  3. Daydreaming or personal emotions

  4. Listening to music (this also includes wearing external headphones or earbuds)

  5. Looking at the scenery or something outside the vehicle

  6. Reaching for something not in plain view

  7. Eating, drinking, or smoking

  8. Talking or passenger activity 

  9. Pets, children, or objects moving in the vehicle

  10. Personal grooming

Every driver has a legal responsibility to ensure their safety and the safety of others by not allowing distractions to interfere with daily driving. Thankfully, distracted driving is a safety threat you can avoid by always maintaining your full focus on the road, your vehicle, and your surroundings.

Common Risks and Dangers

Did you know that when traveling 55 miles per hour, sending or reading a short text is like driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed? 

Distracted drivers not only put themselves at great risk, but also everyone else using the road. According to a recent CDC transportation report, nine people in the United States are killed every day in crashes that reportedly involve a distracted driver. In addition, close to half a million people are injured in crashes caused by distracted drivers. The bottom line here is distracted driving activities can significantly affect a driver's attention and put them at an increased risk of a crash.  

California Distracted Driving Laws

Enacted on July 1, 2021, California Law AB 47 prohibits the use of a cell phone or similar electronic communication device while holding it in your hand. The law does allow for hands-free usage, such as speakerphone or voice commands, but never while holding. Additionally, the law strictly prohibits any driver under the age of 18 from using a cell phone for any reason while driving. Drivers who violate the law are subject to steep fines and citations that incur driving record points for at least three years. 

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving 

There is no shortage of useful tips that can help avoid distracted driving. Other than maintaining your focus on the road and surroundings at all times, here are a few other things drivers can do to ensure they don’t become distracted.

  1. Get prepared in advance — However, you choose to do it, ensure you are dressed, fed, and have everything you need before hitting the gas. 

  2. Make adjustments first — Before you shift into drive, make adjustments like radio, climate, and navigation before you leave. 

  3. Create a distraction-free interior — Make a habit of silencing electronics and staying off the phone while driving. This also includes making sure passengers, pets, or other objects inside your vehicle can not create a potential distraction. 

What to Do If You are Injured By a
Distracted Driver 

If you have suffered injuries as a result of a distracted driver, you have a legal right to pursue compensation for your losses. There are generally two avenues you can take:

  1. File an insurance claim — this process holds the negligent driver’s insurance company responsible for damages and loss. In the event that the driver does not have insurance, you may be able to receive compensation by filing a claim with your own insurance company.

  2. File a personal injury lawsuit - this process involves suing the distracted driver for damages in civil court.  

Hiring a Personal Injury Attorney In Texas

No one deserves to experience injury or loss because of someone else’s negligence. If you or someone you love has been injured by a distracted driver, the experience can be scary and raise many questions. At The Law Office of Steve Brannan, we know the difficulties that distracted driving accidents can present. Our goal is for you to focus on your personal wellness while we secure the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with an experienced and personable Texas personal injury attorney. The Law Office of Steve Brannan serves car accident victims and their families in Odessa, Texas, as well as throughout Midland, Big Spring, Pecos, and Andrews, Texas.