Driving distractions are hazardous, but can often be prevented

When you are driving, anything that takes your attention away from that task becomes a dangerous distraction. Distracted driving contributed to over 804,000 traffic crashes in New Jersey between 2011 and 2015, and these crashes caused numerous injuries and deaths.

Although driving distractions can be visual, manual or cognitive, texting distracts drivers in all three ways. This is one reason why cell phone use has been the focus of statewide and nationwide campaigns to end distracted driving. Because electronics, like cell phones, can be so dangerous to use while driving, it is illegal in New Jersey for drivers to use hand-held electronics to text or make calls while driving.

Other common driving distractions include:

  • Eating
  • Drinking
  • Applying makeup
  • Reading
  • Using a GPS system
  • Adjusting temperature controls or radio stations
  • Tending to children
  • Daydreaming

Distracted driving can often be prevented

Every driver has a responsibility to avoid distractions. Properly preparing for a drive can help you prevent several potential distractions. This may mean waking up earlier to make sure you have time to finish eating and personal grooming before you begin your drive.

You can also prevent distractions by creating a routine to use when you get to your vehicle. Secure children and pets right away. Make adjustments to music, temperature controls, seats and mirrors. If you must use a GPS device, set your destination, then put away all other electronic devices. All of these tasks should be completed before you even take your vehicle out of park.

Consider also making a personal policy to pull over safely before trying to pick up dropped items or tending to children. Remember, anything that takes your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel or mind off driving can be a dangerous distraction.

Driving requires motorists to be fully engaged in the task at hand, and motorists have a responsibility to act safely on the road. If you have been seriously injured in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical expenses and other costs associated to your injury.

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