Florida’s personal injury laws allow victims of accidents that have been seriously injured to collect damages for pain and suffering. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance also covers any driver under the no-fault system. These protections ensure that you won’t be left on your own after a car accident occurs. However, better than recovering after an accident, is preventing that accident in the first place. The majority of car accidents can be prevented by avoiding several simple actions that many drivers take while on the road. If you are behind the wheel, take a look at these 10 actions that cause accidents. Learn how to avoid them for your own safety and the safety of those around you. If you are in a accident please don’t hesitate to reach out to us, Joe Zarzaur: Pensacola Personal Injury Lawyer.
1. Talking on the phone.
Although talking on the phone while driving is legal in Florida, it is advised against mainly because of the distraction that it causes drivers. According to theFlorida Highway Patrol, you should make safe driving a priority, and wait to call until parked if at all possible. If not, limit conversations and keep your eyes on the road.
2. Text messaging.
According to a recent study, text messaging while driving makes an accident 23 times more likely to occur. Text messaging takes your eyes away from the road, and makes your hands occupied so that your reaction time is slowed. Avoid text messaging while driving at all costs.
3. Eating or drinking.
A study by Exxon Mobil shows that over 70% of drivers eat behind the wheel – and over 80% of drivers drink. As with text messaging, eating or drinking while driving occupies your hands so that you cannot react as quickly as necessary if something does occur. According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, eating while driving increases the chances of an accident by 80%.
4. Reaching for something far away.
It may seem like you will be done in a few seconds, but even those few seconds that your eyes are off the road while you are reaching for something out of your range can be crucial. In those few seconds, you may miss a crucial signal or steer the car out of your lane. Avoid reaching for things that are not in your immediate peripheral vision.
Reading has the same effects as text messaging, occupying your eyes and your hands. Avoid even something as seemingly inconspicuous as reading billboards or storefront signs too closely.
6. Holding something in your lap.
Whether it is a pet, a child, or an inanimate object, driving with something in your lap is dangerous for both you and, if it is a living thing, for whatever you are holding. This provides an obstacle for your hands and feet, and causes you to press down harder than you should while distracting you at the same time. Furthermore, if an accident does occur, children or pets in your lap will not be secured with a seat belt and will be in danger of injury or death.
7. Driving with headphones.
Although you may see this as a safer alternative to talking on the phone, using headphones while driving can be equally dangerous. Since these often block out sound, you will be unable to hear crucial pieces of information from other drivers or cars around you. It is crucial that you are able to hear when a car is approaching behind you, or if a driver is trying to tell you something important. You also need to be able to hear police and emergency vehicles so that you can move out of the way if they approach.
8. Changing clothes.
Another action that distracts you from the road, changing clothes should be left until you are parked or have arrived at your destination. This takes your foot off of the brake and your eyes off of what is going on around you. Furthermore, if you become entangled in your clothes, the danger of running into trouble on the road can increase.
9. Putting on makeup.
Although the availability of mirrors in a car makes putting on makeup while driving a tempting prospect, avoid doing this at all costs. While your hands and eyes are occupied, even for a few seconds, you will lose crucial focus, increasing your chances of a car accident. Furthermore, even a small bump in the road can cause serious problems if you are applying eye makeup and your hand slips.
10. Losing your temper.
The most important thing to remember when driving is to not let your temper cloud your judgment. Numerous cases of “road rage”, when one driver feels angry at another driver’s actual or perceived poor driving skills, have resulted in accidents because the driver then takes a rash or unsafe action as a result of this anger. Anger keeps you from making rational decisions and makes you unfocused. The important thing to remember is to not act without thinking. Instead of chasing the person down or making obscene gestures, try to let it go and continue driving. Doing otherwise would distract you and make you more likely to get into an accident. Also make sure that you do not allow any other negativity (such as a bad day or upset feelings over something else) take over your judgment on the road. Recognize when you are feeling angry and make a conscious effort to not have that become a part of your driving.