Distracted driving is a growing problem in Texas, with one in five crashes now being attributed to the phenomenon. Interestingly, people believe distracted driving is a relatively new problem that started with the introduction of smartphones to the mass market.

However, it has been around as long as we have had cars. While texting and driving is one of the biggest modern day distractions, the term “distracted driving” encompasses any and all activities that take your attention away from the road. Some believe that certain distractions are harmless because they only take a moment or are entertaining, but all of them, regardless of how brief or fun, can increase your risk of being in a traffic accident.

Prevent Distracted Driving with a Little Organization

Fortunately, distracted driving is largely preventable. All drivers, regardless of age, number of passengers, or type of vehicle, can take control of their driving experience. People drive while distracted because certain distractions add enjoyment to the drive or save precious time during their morning routine. But, by being organized, you will find driving less stressful, more relaxing, and safer for everyone. It is worth the effort to try new habits and find good ones that work for you and your family and friends.

1. Organize Your Vehicle

Before driving, make sure there is nothing floating around in the car, like children’s toys, papers, or food wrappers. These items can be distracting and possibly roll under the foot pedals, which could interfere with braking and acceleration.

If it is a new vehicle, familiarize yourself with the controls and adjust the mirrors and seat before you turn the ignition. Also, do not overload the car with people or belongings. All belongings should be secure and not blocking the rear window. All passengers must have seatbelts on and have a full seat to themselves.

2. Organize Your Phone

If you need to activate the GPS, do it before you start driving. Otherwise, check email and texts before you get in the car and then leave the phone in your coat pocket or purse. Some newer phones come with notification-blocking apps that prevent these distractions from popping up while driving. If you do not see the notifications out of the corner of your eye, you will be less tempted to pick up your phone while you are on the road. If you have an older model smartphone, there are apps available to download that will block notifications.

3. Organize Your Food and Drink

It’s best not to eat or drink in the car. If possible, arrange to eat before or after your trip. If you must bring food along, make sure drinks, especially hot ones, are in covered, leak-proof cups and that they rest in the cup holders, not on the seat beside you. Avoid bringing messy snacks that can spill or smear. At the end of your car trip, be sure to remove any and all food packaging so it does not clutter up your vehicle.

4. Organize Your Passengers

Make sure your passengers know what to expect. If you like to drive in silence, let them know in advance. If you need help with the GPS or looking for a street or house number, give passengers enough warning so they can effectively help you without making you flustered. If you are traveling with children, ensure they are set up with their toys and snacks prior to driving. To the best of your ability and theirs, make sure everything they need is within their reach. If they need something from you during the trip, pull over to help. Reaching back while driving could result in you losing control of the car.

5. Organize Your Grooming

Shaving or doing makeup while driving is one of the more established forms of distracted driving. People feel they can save time by doing two things at once when, in effect, you do neither task well. Not only are you risking a car accident, you are also risking cuts and eye injuries. Take care of these activities before you leave. Focusing fully on doing one important thing at a time will be less stressful for your mornings in the long run than trying to save time so you can hit snooze on your alarm more often.

Legal Advice

If you’ve been injured in a car crash as the result of distracted driving, or any other cause, you need effective and timely advice from a trusted attorney. The team at GreeningLaw P.C. is here to share its expertise and compassion. We understand that recovering from such injuries, especially if they involve a hospital stay, can be both stressful and expensive.

At GreeningLaw P.C., we believe that your needs come first, which is why we work on contingency. We do not get paid unless you are awarded compensation. Our fees are made clear up front, so there will be no surprises. Contact us to book a free consultation. Let us handle your case so you can focus on what is most important to you. “We fight the legal battle, so you have time for healing and renewal.”