Summer Safe Driving Tips: Be Prepared and Avoid Distractions
We have all heard of the dangers of distracted driving, whether it involves a phone call, texting, looking up directions, or turning on our favorite song. With summer upon us, we now have more drivers on roads and highways, and many of us are driving longer distances for vacation. These adventures, while no doubt very fun, can also be hectic and even dangerous. Many of us will be using our phones and other devices to find our way or contact friends to prepare plans. For those reasons and more, it is vital to remain vigilant about being a prepared and focused driver.
Summer: A Driving Threat in Disguise
The winter months are often viewed as the most dangerous time of year to drive because of the volatile weather; however, statistically speaking, the most dangerous month for driving is actually August. Many presume that weather hazards create ideal conditions for car crashes, and although the weather can be responsible for wrecks, many drivers are actually more aware of their surroundings and potential threats while driving in inclement weather.
In August, on the other hand, the driving conditions are ideal, which leads to drivers relaxing their focus and exhibiting riskier behaviors. In fact, a 2008 study found that there were 800 more car accidents resulting in fatalities in August compared to January. Many of these accidents were a result of speeding (30%), alcohol use (18% during the day and 54% at night), and increased nighttime driving (which is when over half of car accidents occur).
Safety Tips for Road Trips
When getting ready for any summer trips, whether they are cross-country journeys or just a quick jaunt to get out for the day, it is important to have your car stocked with an emergency kit in case of a car crash. Having a flashlight, jack, first aid kit, and water are among the recommended essentials.
Next, it is important to look up any recalls related to your car’s make and model to be sure that it is up to standards. For those traveling with small children, be sure to have booster seats and seatbelt aids to ensure the protection of your children during these fun summer trips. When driving in areas with heavy foot traffic, it is vital to keep your eyes on the road and sidewalks, as many people will be wandering through crosswalks and children playing near roads.
Summer Safe Driving Tip #1: Avoid Distractions
In order to take full advantage of the excellent driving conditions and the amazing summer weather, it’s crucial to curb distractions by following these few steps. First and foremost, distracted driving takes many forms, such as texting, surfing the internet, and making a phone call while driving; eating, grooming, and using navigation systems are also forms of distraction.
And distracted driving is a major problem. In 2014, distracted drivers caused over 3,000 fatal car accidents. Furthermore, people in their twenties comprise nearly a quarter of those involved in fatal car accidents caused by distractions. Texting in particular has become the focus of many efforts to reduce distracted driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation has found that the average time it takes to write and send a text is 5 seconds. While traveling at 55 miles per hour in that same amount of time, a driver moves the length of an entire football field — with their eyes entirely off the road in front of them.
Many laws have been enacted by states and municipalities to prevent texting or phone use while driving. However, the most sensible solution is a personal one. Consumers now have at their fingertips numerous applications to automatically send response texts while driving, to deactivate call and text features while driving, or to simply shut off their phones before driving somewhere. Some of the best apps to prevent distraction while driving include DriveSafe.ly, Textecution, and DriveScribe.
DriveSafe.ly reads texts and emails and transmits calls via speakerphone to the driver. This eliminates the impulse to hold and read your phone while driving; however, even using a hands-free device can impair your ability to focus on the task of driving. The service Textecution uses GPS to determine how fast the driver is moving, and if they are going over 10 miles per hour, it disables all texting features until the driver is stopped and able to unlock their phone. Finally, DriveScribe incentivizes good driving habits by measuring adherence to driving rules such as stopping and following speed limits. The app then awards points for good behavior and allows users to redeem said points for gift cards and discounts at certain stores. It also allows you to track driving habits.
These solutions best serve drivers since they take away any sort of urge to reach for the phone and incentivize safety. Please remember while driving this summer to have your eyes and mind focused on the road, your fellow drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. This will make for a safe and enjoyable summer.
Hossley & Embry: Helping Victims Get the Justice and Compensation They Deserve
Sometimes, even the most focused and diligent drivers can become victims of the poor decisions and actions of others. If you or someone you know has been injured or lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligent behavior, please call Hossley & Embry today at (866) 522-9265 or fill out our convenient online contact form. We offer free consultations to help you determine your best course of action and help you get your life back on track after a car accident.
Burke, A. (2012, December 17). 5 apps to prevent texting and driving. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2012/12/17/texting-driving-apps/#1sI4ToKk_Sqn
Distracted driving. (2016, March 7). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/
Elliott, H. (2009, January 21). Most dangerous times to drive. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/2009/01/21/car-accident-times-forbeslife-cx_he_0121driving.html
Facts and statistics. (n.d.). Distraction.gov. Retrieved from http://www.distraction.gov/stats-research-laws/facts-and-statistics.html
Summer driving tips. (n.d.). Safercar.gov. Retrieved from http://www.safercar.gov/summerdrivingtips