Earlier this week, 18-year-old Obdulia Sanchez became distracted by her phone and swerved off the road, crashing into a barbed wire fence. In a matter of a seconds, Sanchez killed her 14-year-old sister and severely injured another passenger.
While accidents like these can usually be chalked up to the usual texting and driving dilemma – which kills an average of 11 teens every day – the aforementioned story is even more frightening. In a shocking turn of events, Sanchez decided that texting while driving was too simple, and instead, decided to live stream the event on Instagram.
With incidents like these piling up, it is more clear than ever before that as the world of social media continues to develop, the potential for distracted driving grows along with it.
The Evolution of Distracted Driving
Contrary to what most parents like to claim, distracted driving is not a new phenomena. Whether it was through the invention of an internal car radio system, or the Sony Walkman, drivers have been given virtual reasons to keep their eyes off the roads for several decades.
However, in recent years, the dramatic outgrowth of social media has caused distracted driving to reach its apex. Snapchat, Facebook and apparently even Instagram all offer drivers new avenues to get side tracked and suffer accidents.
Empirically, about 421,000 Americans are annually injured in collisions involving a distracted driver.
It is also important to recognize that while mobile devices are the leading catalysis behind distracted driving accidents, there are countless other manifestations of these incidents as well. Eating, drinking, fatigue and even the presence of loud passengers while driving are also significant contributors to vehicular accidents. Realizing the dangers associated with the lesser-known forms of distracted driving is crucial to staying safe behind the wheel.
Tips on Avoiding Distracted Driving
Unfortunately, as technology becomes more and more ingrained in our daily lives, the amount of distracted driving will inevitably rise as well. However, by following these few tips, you can successfully keep your eyes on the road and avoid getting into an avoidable accident:
- Put away your phone. Before driving, either turn off or silence your phone. Proceed to place it in a safe, but hidden location – for example, the glove compartment.
- Take a break. If your eyes start to close, or you’re feeling drowsy, pull off the road and into a secure location. Take a nap and only get back on the road when you feel more energetic.
- Get everything done before hitting the road. Avoid adjusting your mirrors, setting the GPS, doing your makeup, or eating on the road. Driving is not the time to multitask.
- Have your passengers do some heavy lifting. If there’s an emergency and you have to make a call or program a GPS, have a passenger perform the action. If not, pull off the road and do it.
Remember, as long as you don’t let yourself fall victim to distractions, driving can be a fun and productive experience! If you or a loved one was injured or killed in an automobile accident due to another driver’s negligence, contact my office immediately.
As your Ohio accident attorney, I’ll be there for you, and I’ll Make Them Pay!®
Author: Tim Misny | For over four decades, personal injury lawyer Tim Misny has represented the injured victim in in birth injury, medical malpractice, and catastrophic injury/wrongful death cases, serving Cleveland, Akron/Canton, Columbus, Dayton and neighboring communities. You can reach Tim by email at misnylaw.com/ask-tim-a-question/ or call at 855.800.0384.