In 1995, a mere 11 percent of the U.S. population had cell phones.  Today that number has climbed to 93 percent, and it’s no surprise that there’s been a corresponding increase in accidents and injuries attributable to distracted driving.  Here the personal injury attorneys at Azrael, Franz, Schwab and Lipowitz offer tips to prevent distracted driving.

Don’t multi-task: Smartphones keep us close to our email, internet and texts at all times, and that’s great … unless you’re behind the wheel.  Don’t text, email or even use the phone while you drive, even if you can do so hands-free.

Secure your stuff:  Not all distractions are electronic.  Before you pull away, make sure all loose objects are secure so you won’t be tempted to reach across and try to pick them up from the floor or seat.  Reaching for objects can be a hazard while driving.

Pre-flight:  Make all adjustments to your driving environment before you leave.  Make sure your seat, mirrors, climate control and sound system is programmed to your preferred settings before attempting to drive.  Also, get your GPS set before you start your journey.

Lay down the rules: Passengers can be as big a distraction as electronic devices.  Make sure your passengers understand that your job is to focus on driving.  If they’re doing something to distract you, tell them to stop immediately, as your safety and theirs is at risk.

Pull over: Occasionally your immediate attention is needed before you reach your destination.  If that’s the case, find a safe place to pull off the road and handle the situation while the vehicle is parked.

Understand the definition: Distracted driving doesn’t mean just texting.  Anything that keeps you from focusing on the task at hand – getting to your destination safely – is a distraction.  Stop the car and deal with it before you continue.

While smartphones have played a big role in the increase of distracted driving accidents and injuries, there are many other ways to lose focus while driving, and a single second of inattention can have disastrous consequences.  Questions?  Contact Azrael, Franz, Schwab and Lipowitz, LLC.