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Man driving car while texting

THREE TIPS TO HELP YOU AVOID DISTRACTED DRIVING

Blaszkow Legal, PLLC May 17, 2022

Most of us can’t imagine life without our cars, even though driving them presents one of the biggest risks we take on a day-to-day basis. Car accidents can occur for a number of reasons, and many of these are outside of our immediate control. Other reasons are preventable. To minimize the effects of distracted driving, we can all make improvements in our driving habits that will keep our families and other drivers on the road safer. For more information about this or any legal concerns about a car accident you’ve been in, call us at Blaszkow Legal, PLLC to schedule a consultation. From our offices in Alexandria, Virginia, we’re able to serve clients throughout the area including Fairfax, Arlington, Woodbridge, and Manassas.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that you engage in while driving that diverts your attention from the road. This can happen in a number of ways from eating, talking with other people in the car, fiddling with the radio, drowsiness, or the most common culprit — using your cell phone. 

The distraction may be visual, causing your eyes to move away from the road, or cognitive where your eyes may be “technically” on the road, but your mind is elsewhere. The distraction could be manual where your hands are off the wheel and engaged with another object like food or a phone. There’s not one activity that’s inherently more dangerous than another because they can all pull your attention away from your driving, and it only takes a couple of seconds of distraction to get into an accident. 

Common Risks and Dangers

When you become distracted, you are less able to respond to the changes in traffic and are therefore more likely to get into an accident or have to make an emergency evasive maneuver to avoid a collision. When you engage in distracted driving, you’re not only putting the safety of yourself and your passengers at risk, but also other cars and pedestrians. 

Virginia Distracted Driving Laws

As of January 1, 2021, Virginia enacted a law prohibiting the use of handheld wireless communication devices (cell phones) while operating a car. Penalties for texting and driving include fines that increase with the number of offenses, not to mention insurance costs, property damage, or medical bills if it results in an accident. 

Three Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving 

  • Know the risks: Being aware of the risks of distracted driving is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself and those around you. Many people don’t think twice about changing the music, eating lunch, or reapplying lipstick while driving, but these actions can be incredibly risky. If you must do one of these, make sure you’re fully stopped first. Also, ensure you’re well-rested before getting behind the wheel. A drowsy driver can be just as dangerous as a drunk driver.

  • Put the phone away: Phone use while driving is a growing concern as cell phones are now an integral part of our daily lives. In the early days of cell phones, the only real distraction was talking to someone, but now we use our phones for everything from navigation, listening to music, texting, games, or reading emails. When driving, you should only use your phone in emergency situations and even then you should try to pull off the road first.

  • Focus on the road: When you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle, your number one job is ensuring you get from point A to point B as safely as possible. This means you have to be proactive in reducing the distractions around you so you can focus on the road. Let your phone go to voicemail. If your child in the backseat needs your attention, tell them they’ll have to wait until you can pull over. If you have to eat on the road, choose snacks that aren’t messy and are easy to pick up and put down — or better yet, eat before or after your drive. You need to be aware of other drivers on the road and be ready to respond quickly to their actions.

Pursuing a Claim When Injured by a Distracted Driver

Unfortunately, there will still be accidents caused by distracted drivers, and when this happens, you may need a personal injury attorney who can help you file an insurance claim and prove that the liability lies with the other driver. To do this, we may be able to subpoena phone records of the driver to prove they were on the phone at the time of the accident and should be held at fault.

Hiring a Personal Injury Injury Attorney in Virginia

If you’ve been injured due to the negligence of a distracted driver, you have every right to pursue compensation, and we can help. These are wholly preventable accidents, and we can all help by taking some basic steps to reduce our own distracted driving. To speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer, reach out today to Blaszkow Legal, PLLC in Alexandria, Virginia - 703-879-5910.