“DRIVING DISTRACTIONS 101” (PLUS, AN ADDITIONAL HEADS UP FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS: COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE)

Driving requires our full attention. Driving distracted, or multitasking while driving, has been shown to be a leading cause of most vehicle crashes. In fact, some findings show it to be as high as 80% at fault for accidents on the road today. In this article, accident attorney, Jeffrey Meldon, has compiled a list of some of the common distractions that have been found to increase your risk of causing, nearly causing an accident and/or being involved in an accident that has already occurred on the road in front of you or beside you.

This article solely lists the distractions, and does not give the remedies for each of them, or even why they are a distraction as it seems obvious, once we remember the below stated three most important aspects to safe driving for your own personal safety, your passengers safety and the safety of others sharing the road with you.

The three most important aspects to safe driving are keeping:

  • both hands on the wheel,
  • both eyes on the road,
  • and paying attention with your mind to the task at hand, i.e. driving, the road and other drivers and pedestrians on the road with you.

Remember, when you drive, just drive, save the other things for when you get to your destination, at a rest stop, or before you get on the road. Driving in itself is a multitasking task that requires our full attention.

Here are some of the common distractions that put people at risk while driving:

  • Cell phone use: chating and texting take eyes, hands and mind away from the where they should be, and remember, hands-free is not any safer, its like driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and is the #1 most common distraction on the road today.
  • Putting on make up
  • Shaving
  • Reaching for something in the vehicle: a CD, a water bottle that has rolled away, etc
  • Reading: newspapers, emails, maps, billboards and even books
  • Looking at something other than the road: an accident in the other lane, roadside construction work, a passenger’s laptop, etc
  • Eating and drinking: Not only does this take your mind, eyes and hands away from what they should be focusing on; there is the unwrapping/opening of the object/s, the holding of it, the eating of it, the wiping up the spills of, the disposal of the container, etc
  • Pets loose in the vehicle, or worse, sitting on your lap: This takes attention, eyes and hands away from the driving task at hand, plus, animals can be unpredictable.
  • Adjusting the radio dial
  • Reaching for and putting in a CD
  • Adjusting the mirrors of the vehicle
  • Adjusting the climate control of your vehicle
  • Smoking: lighting up, ash control, extinguishing and butt disposal are all distractions
  • Watching a movie: great for passenger but extremely distracting for drivers.
  • Accessing the Internet: one of the newest distractions; Wi-Fi in cars.
  • Singing and seat dancing
  • Emotional stress or fatigue

Don’t be fooled by thinking you can multitask and be safe, these are proven driving distractions, no matter your age or experience behind the wheel, and avoiding them could prevent injuries or death to yourself, your passengers, and others sharing the road with you.

Arrive alive; don’t multitask while driving, driving is enough of a multitasking event in itself… stay focused, pay attention and be ready to deal with the unexpected.

Remember the three most important aspects to driving safely:

  • both hands on the wheel,
  • both eyes on the road,
  • and paying attention with your mind to the task at hand, i.e. driving, the road and other drivers and pedestrians on the road with you.

In addition, heads up: Florida is a comparative negligence state. So, even if your driving distractions were not the sole cause of the accident, you could be found to be partially to blame for yours or other’s injuries and your settlement amount adjusted accordingly.

For more information on this important topic:

New York Times Article on Distracted Driving

California dmv government publication on fast facts of distracted driving

One video says it all; everyone should watch this, no matter our age

Comparative negligence explained and how it affects car accident victims

We don’t have to wait until it is the law to turn off our cell phones while driving

I am local accident attorney Jeffrey Meldon and I strongly believe that public education is the first step in the prevention of and/or recovery from a serious accident. My office and I take pride in our work, and the results we get for our clients.

Meldon Law is a regional law firm that is located in Gainesville, Florida. We are personal injury lawyers, litigators and trial lawyers that have been working to get accident victims the justice they deserve for over 40 years throughout North Florida and all over Florida. Accidents involving a car crash, truck wreck, motorcycle, ATVs, bicycle, pedestrian accidents, and dog bites, slip and falls, medical malpractice, and criminal defense are all included in our practice.

For more information on how we can help you, or with any other question you may have, feel free to contact our office at 800-373-8000.

Jeffrey Meldon
Founder of the Meldon Law Firm