Operating a motor vehicle is a complex skill that requires the driver’s full attention. When a motorist takes their eyes off the road or their hands off the wheel, serious and potentially life threatening personal injuries can occur. Despite strict laws prohibiting cell phone use and aggressive law enforcement efforts, distracted driving continues to endanger motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians in Vancouver. In light of the fact that April is designated as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month, the following offers tips to keep you and your passengers safe.
Distracted Driving In Vancouver
In Vancouver and throughout the state of Washington, there are strict laws prohibiting the use of cell phones or other handheld devices while behind the wheel. While these laws were enacted in an attempt to reduce the high number of distracted driving accidents, these types of crashes and collisions continue to occur. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, roughly 30 percent of all car, bike, and pedestrian accidents are caused by distracted drivers.
In one out of every three distracted driving crashes, cell phone usage on the part of the driver is to blame. However, there are other types of activities that can be just a dangerous when behind the wheel:
- Eating fast food and drinking coffee or other beverages;
- Changing radio or GPS settings;
- Being distracted by things occurring outside of the vehicle, such as a car accident;
- Reaching for things in your glove compartment or under the seat.
Even turning your head for just a minute to talk to other passengers could increase your traffic accident risks. If a driver in front of you slams on their brakes or a pedestrian steps into the roadway, you may not have time to avoid a collision, which could result in serious and potentially fatal injuries.
Safety Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving
April is distracted driving awareness month, and the City of Vancouver urges all drivers to be aware of the potential dangers while familiarizing themselves with the distracted driving laws that are in place. In addition to prohibiting handheld devices, you can also be pulled over and ticketed for other dangerous distractions, such as eating, smoking, or engaging in personal grooming while driving. Be alert for signs that another driver may not be paying attention behind the wheel and steer clear to avoid becoming a victim. These signs include:
- Going either over or under the speed limit.
- Swerving in and out of their lane;
- Disregarding traffic signs and signals;
- Making jerking movements, such as suddenly alternating between giving the vehicle gas and applying the brakes.
As a pedestrian or bicyclist, avoid being distracted yourself and always attempt to make eye contact with a driver before attempting to cross streets and intersections.
Reach Out to Our Vancouver Personal Injury Attorneys
When distracted drivers leave you suffering serious personal injuries, the Johnston Law Firm is here to help you get the compensation you need to recover. To request a free consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Vancouver accident attorneys online today.