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Tag: distracted driving

distracted driving car accident

A standard feature on many new cars are the screens on the dash between the driver and passenger. These are commonly referred to as vehicle infotainment systems and they are now high on the list for contributing to distractions while driving, causing local body shops to see a rise in these kind of collision repairs.

The intent of the technology is to create a better experience for the driver and add efficiencies. However, a new study from the AAA Foundation discovered that this feature is causing dangerous distractions.

Texas Law

As of September 1, it is against the law in Texas to text, read, or write email on a phone while driving. This law is for the use of wireless communication devices. Many cities, including Austin, Buda, and San Marcos, have ordinances that require drivers to be hands-free while driving.

It is not entirely clear yet how the laws and ordinances will enforce restrictions against drivers using the in-car systems. However, the recent study shows using these while driving could lead to a serious accident and for that reason, AAA is recommending for drivers to only use them when the car is not in motion.

Why Body Shops in Austin May See More Wrecked Cars

AAA’s study tested 30 different systems in vehicles, including systems that allow drivers to surf the web or check social media. The new study shows when drivers use the in-car systems, it causes more than 40 seconds of visual and mental distraction that could lead to a collision and visiting a body shop in Austin. Compare that to their research that shows if a driver removes his or her eyes for just two seconds, the odds of having a collision are doubled.

Consider not only the length of distraction but also almost half of all drivers nationwide, or 40 percent, are using the systems while driving. Navigation was discovered to consume the longest period of distraction.

Ellis & Salazar Automotive and Collision has been part of the Austin area for more than 60 years. We care about the community where we work and live. Accidents happen and we have been here to provide the highest quality collision repair to the vehicles of more than one generation in families. If an accident is caused by someone using an in-car system, it was preventable. We hope that drivers in our area will not only follow the laws, but drive sensibly and know that anything that takes your concentration off of the road is not safe.

5 Tips for Driving in Rain in Austin
Image courtesy shirokazan.

Driving in the rain can be scary, especially when you’re surrounded by other drivers on the road.  It’s estimated that approximately 24% of crashes each year are caused by wet road surfaces.

Being aware of simple tips to make driving in the rain safer will ease the anxiety caused by driving on wet roads.

5 Tips for Driving on Wet Roads:

1)      Allow Extra Time

Many drivers don’t drive with necessary caution during a storm, resulting in car accidents.   Rain often decreases visibility which means driving more slowly is necessary.  If at all possible, avoid driving until the storm has passed.  Even better, wait until the roads are dry.

2)      Remain Calm

Anxiety compounds poor driving decisions and can interfere with good concentration.  Remember to drive slowly, be aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to other drivers and how they’re reacting to driving on wet roads.  Defensive driving is important when driving in bad weather.

3)      Turn on Headlights

Most newer cars come equipped with daytime running lights, but turning on your headlights makes you much more visible to other drivers.

4)      Get Rid of Distractions

Driving while distracted is an unfortunate habit many drivers get into.  There’s no time more important than driving in adverse weather to be sure you’re giving your full attention to the task at hand – arriving safely at your destination.  Turn off the radio, silence cell phones and ask passengers to allow you to fully concentrate on driving.

5)      Prepare Ahead with Preventative Maintenance

Making sure your tires have adequate tread and proper air pressure is vitally important to prevent hydroplaning on wet road surfaces.

Driving safely in inclement weather is possible.  Remember than not everyone is adequately prepared, so be even more cautious of other drivers as you navigate your way through driving during a thunderstorm.

Almost everyone agrees that talking on your cell phone while driving is dangerous.  Texting while driving is even more hazardous.  That doesn’t stop people from doing it, which means car accidents as a result of distracted driving are on the rise.

The statistics about car accidents caused by distracted driving are startling.

Most drivers think any cell phone use while driving impairs your ability to drive as safely as if you were undistracted.  Yet 52% admit to using their cell phones while driving.  Austin car accident incidents increase when people use their cell phones while driving, it’s that simple.

TxDOT reported that distracted driving, including cell phone use, contributed to over 90,000 car accidents in Texas in 2012.  These accidents resulted in 453 deaths, many of which could have been prevented if drivers had been responsible cell phone users.

What is a responsible cell phone user?

Operating a vehicle is an activity that requires concentration and attention.  To effectively navigate safely to your destination without getting in a car accident it’s important to remain undistracted.

Tips to be a responsible cell phone owner while driving:

1)      When using GPS to navigate, program your device prior to driving.  To prevent car accidents, don’t alter its programmed destination without pulling over.

2)      Put your cell phone where you can’t reach it.  Place it in the back seat or trunk.  It can’t distract you if you can’t see it.

3)      Turn off the sound.  No text message, phone call or e-mail is so important that it can’t wait until you arrive at your destination.  None of those messages or calls will matter if you don’t arrive safely and without getting in a car wreck.

4)      If you must use your cell phone, find a safe place to pull off the road.  Studies have proven that even voice activated texting and hands-free talking while driving are not safe alternatives.

5)      Ask a passenger to answer your phone or respond to text messages on your behalf while you’re driving.

6)      Install an app that prevents you from using your phone while your vehicle is moving.  If you don’t trust yourself to resist the temptation, there’s an app for that!

7)      Join thousands of others who have taken the pledge to not text while driving.  A popular local Austin television station recently ran a lengthy campaign in support of ‘X the Text’ hoping to reduce the incidence of Austin car accidents.

In addition to safety concerns, in many areas using your cell phone while driving is against the law.  If you live in Texas, you can learn more about texting while driving laws in Texas by visiting the TxDOT website.

Safer driving  means fewer Austin car accidents.  Don’t try to defy the odds, increase your odds of arriving safely by being a responsible cell phone owner while driving.

 

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