Everyone knows that driving while distracted can lead to serious car accidents. In fact, of the thousands of collisions each year, about 80% of all car crashes are caused by distracted driving. While you can’t keep other drivers from becoming distracted, it’s important that you stay focused in order to stay out of their way.
You can help reduce distracted driving crashes
By taking steps to reduce distractions in your own vehicle, you can help make Virginia roads safer. If you are more focused, you are better able to avoid a crash with someone else who was distracted and not paying attention to their own driving. By concentrating on your driving, you may be able to pull off to the side at a stop signal if the person behind you appears to be texting instead of putting on the brakes.
Tips for reducing driving distractions
Before driving off, make adjustments to your seat, radio and other things that may distract you while you drive. For example, if you know the car will be heated up soon, take off your winter jacket before you start driving.
Put your digital device in driving mode or set it far away from you, so you can’t use them while driving. This will reduce the temptation to check your email or send a text message at a stop light or in stop-and-go traffic.
If you have children with you, make sure they are buckled in correctly before shifting the car out of park. Pets should be in a kennel or another restraint system, so that they aren’t in your lap or running around the vehicle.
Virginia’s hands-free law
Since January 1, 2021, it is illegal for drivers to drive while holding communication devices – like cell phones – in their hands. This does not mean you can’t use your GPS. You just need to set your destination before you start and put it on a stand to keep it out of your hands.
If you are, unfortunately, involved in a motor vehicle accident and you noticed before the crash that the other driving was using a cell phone, be sure to mention it to the law enforcement agent who comes to your aid.