Here in Hampton Roads, if you’re driving on I-64 through Newport News, chances are you’ll run into some road construction. The Daily Press has reported that over 1,000 trees have been cut down over a six-mile stretch of highway for an on-going highway widening project. Where before the median was full of tall trees, there is now a lot of dirt and construction vehicles. This change in scenery is sure to distract some drivers on their daily commute, and any distraction can be dangerous.
When we think of distracted driving, phone conversations and texting are what typically comes to mind; however, any number of things can distract us from driving, including abrupt new changes in the scenery, road construction, or emergency vehicles on the side of the highway. These circumstances can cause rubbernecking, and because drivers often slow their speed when they rubberneck, this in turn causes the cars behind to slow, which then causes more cars to slow down, and so on and so on. These inconsistencies in traffic speed leads to uneven traffic flow and increases the chance of accidents. Often times these distractions simply cause the driver to turn his or her eyes away from the road ahead for a few consequential seconds resulting in a swerve across lanes or off the road.
Distracted driving continues to be a major issue for traffic safety. Every year, about 421,000 accidents are caused by distracted driving in the U.S. It’s important remain focused even if you’re not the one using your phone while driving. On average, it takes only three seconds of distraction to cause an accident. Keeping that in mind, any number of distractions (not just your phone) can lead to an accident.
The consequences of distracted driving can be deadly, especially for teens who are still learning to drive. The Bookmark has created a Technology and Teen Driving Guide to help initiate discussions with your children on the importance of safe driving.
So, of course, put your phone away while you’re driving, but also remember to be mindful of other distractions that can lead to accidents - such as finding a good radio station, having conversations with your friend in the passenger seat, or looking hard to your left or right to check out construction, an accident, or beautiful scenic views.
If you have any questions about the proper steps to take in the case of traffic accidents, please don't hesitate to contact us. We're happy to offer our assistance.