1 Simple Rule to Safe Summer Driving

Most people have taken a driver's education class of some kind. Whether it's prior to getting a driver's license or after getting a ticket, driving classes offer a wealth of information on how to drive safely and defensively to avoid accidents. These can include things like how much distance you should leave between you and the vehicle in front of you to tips for appropriately navigating through roundabouts to how to drive in adverse weather conditions.

There is, however, one very simple yet hard and fast rule that will help you avoid a vast number of accidents, no matter what conditions you are driving in. The rule is this: pay attention. Distracted driving is rising in importance in the legal world, in both law enforcement and litigation arenas. Partly this is due to the rise in cell phone use, but in some ways cell phone use has simply cast a brighter light on something that has always been a problem. Here are some common distractions that keep drivers from paying full attention to driving.

Cell phones

A leading research firm has concluded that 40% of all U.S. teens have ridden in cars with drivers who were using cellphones in a dangerous way. Whether it's texting, talking on a cell phone or even simply trying to follow the directions on a map app, using cell phones takes your attention away from the road.

While you may think you are only distracted for a brief second, the reality is that sending or receiving a text takes approximately 4.6 seconds. If you are traveling at 55 mph and take your eyes off the road for that long, you will be blindly driving the full length of a football field. That's a long distance to travel blind, and a lot can happen in that distance.


While texting teens get a bad rap when it comes to safe driving, they are not the only ones doing it. Texters are also not the most dangerous drivers on the road. Sometimes it's parents. A report from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that children are 4 times more distracting to drivers as adult passengers are and driving with babies makes concentration 8 times more difficult.

While you want to keep your screaming child and irritated toddler happy, one of the best things you can do for them is actually ignore their cries when behind the wheel. In addition, instead of catering to their needs and demands for food or entertainment, it's important to teach them that car time is quiet time.

Radio/ temperature controls/ navigation system

Much like with texting, you may feel like you only take your eyes off the road for a brief second to switch songs or playlists, turn the heat or a/c up or down or enter information into a navigation system. Any time you take your eyes off the road for even the briefest of glances is a second you are opening yourself up to the possibility of an accident or even of hitting a cyclist or pedestrian.

In 2012, in just one single county in Kentucky, the state police reported 480 pedestrian accidents, of which 11 resulted in a fatality. A pedestrian can step out from behind a parked car and into traffic at any time and a child can run into the street in a split second. Devices that operate via voice command are making drivers safer than ever before, but if you can't operate it by voice command, just let it go or live with it until you can safely pull over and fix or change it. Whatever it is, from a song that you hate to a temp that is too high, it's not worth your life or taking someone else's. 

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T.J. Smith, Attorney at Law
600 W Main Street Suite 100
Louisville, KY 40202

Phone: 502-792-7937
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