One of the best vacations a family can take together is a road trip. These long hours on the road create the perfect opportunities for bonding and memory-making, but they can also create a recipe for disaster. Gone are the days when the only entertainment found in the car traveling along the highway were the radio, games, and sing-alongs; now drivers are tempted—and distracted by—a variety of different activities that can cause dangerous crashes if allowed.
Common Road Trip Distractions
There’s almost no greater test to gauge a driver’s focus and patience levels than by seeing how he can drive during a road trip with a vehicle full of people. No matter how dedicated he is to safe driving, there often comes a point at which the distractions are allowed to enter his mind and potentially affect his driving. Here, we’ve come up with some of the most common distractions that are found on road trips:
- Passenger noise. Whether the back seat of your vehicle is filled with kids or adults, chances are, they are going to create some kind of distraction that will cause you to lose focus or engage in some other risky behavior while behind the wheel. Crying or fighting children and adults who are attempting to carry on conversations or try their hand at back seat driving can all create a break in your mental focus. Turning around to engage with them, or simply removing a hand from the wheel to give them a snack or other object they requested, are all enough to cause a distraction big enough to create a crash.
- Maps. You’ve probably seen the images of a driver with a large map in his lap as he attempts to see where he is going while driving at the same time. Although this depiction is often exaggerated, the idea is basically the same: maps can be quite distracting. Chances are your map is not made of paper, but is a GPS or map program found on your phone. Even though they are not as big and awkward as the old paper maps were, they can still cause the driver to become distracted. Looking away from the road and paying attention to the device instead can cause an accident, as can typing in new information. Whichever type of map you use, know that they can still cause problems for motorists.
- Cell phones. Smartphones and cell phones are arguably the most distracting tool that a motorist can have in his vehicle. Whether the driver is texting or simply talking on the phone, he can become distracted enough to cause an accident. Even using hands-free devices is dangerous, as your actions can cause you to become cognitively distracted.
- Roadside attractions. It’s easy to become caught up in the sights that are around you, particularly when you’ve never seen them before. Looking at road signs, landscapes, and other roadside attractions can cause you to look away from what is in front of you, and cause a serious accident.
Preventing all distractions from occurring is an uphill battle. After all, no matter what you may say to your kids before you get into the vehicle, they will still likely fight with each other, scream, request snacks, and exhibit a variety of other behaviors that can cause even the most patient of drivers to lose it. However, you can stop yourself from becoming distracted by other objects. For instance, designate someone to help you keep track of where you are going. Your passenger can assist with the GPS or map program on your phone so that you don’t have to look away. Additionally, this same person can make any calls or texts for you that must be answered immediately. Parents may also want to think about distracting their children with books, games, and electronic devices that keep them occupied, which can keep the noise level down, allowing you to focus.
Accident Victims Have Rights
If you were hit by a distracted driver, you could be eligible to receive financial compensation and the attorneys of Wayne Wright may be able to help. Schedule an appointment to speak with a legal professional about your situation by calling 800-237-3334 and get the help you need right away.