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The National Safety Council has designated April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. This month-long observance aims to raise awareness of this growing problem, which is not just about texting and driving. This year, one focus is on reaching out to employers of drivers, encouraging them to implement strict cell phone policies and other anti-distracted driving rules.

Texting and Driving is Not the Only Distraction

While texting and driving is the most commonly voiced concern when discussing distracted driving, it is not the only issue at hand. Any type of cell phone use can be distracting, even in hands-free mode. Taking a call even with a Bluetooth device can distract your mind from the important task of driving.

To curtail your cell phone use while in the car, switch it to silent mode and place it out of your sight until you reach your destination. If you need to use GPS, most phones will play only the directions and will disable the sound of other notifications. Another GPS trick is to make sure you have your destination loaded and ready to map, rather than fumbling to input addresses while actively driving.

Anything That Takes Your Attention Off the Road is a Distraction

From eating to talking, if your attention is not 100 percent focused on driving, you are a distracted driver. Some of the common forms of distracted driving include:

  • Changing radio or air conditioning settings
  • Staring at roadside events/scenery
  • Eating or drinking
  • Talking to passengers
  • Turning around to look at someone in the backseat

Some of these distractions may seem innocuous such as talking to passengers, but a heated discussion can take your mental focus off the road and into the conversation. Even split second tasks like adjusting the air conditioning can take your hands off the wheel for precious seconds that could result in an accident.

Also, be aware of the volume in your vehicle. Between loud music and noisy chatter of passengers, if the level of noise inside the car is too loud you could miss important warning sounds like emergency sirens or oncoming traffic.

Ending distractions caused by passengers does not have to put you in an awkward social situation. Before you start a ride, ask your passengers to politely keep the chitchat to a minimum so you can concentrate on driving safely. If you have young children, talk to them about the dangers of distracted driving and how their cooperation can help keep the car quiet and safe.

Do Your Part to Reduce Distracted Driving

Putting the cell phone away and turning down loud music are two simple ways to put an end to distracted driving. Unfortunately, many Texas drivers still eat, chat, and text while behind the wheel. These drivers are one of the reasons that in 2014, more than 3,000 people across the nation lost their lives in distracted driver accidents, according to Distraction.gov.

Even safe drivers who follow the no-distractions rules can find themselves sustaining injuries in a crash with a distracted driver. If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries in an auto accident, contact The Law Office of Julie Johnson, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation with a car accident attorney regarding your case: 214-290-8001.