There are many dangers on California’s roads, but distracted driving may be one of the most common. In 2019, almost 58 percent of drivers surveyed in California said they had been hit or nearly hit by someone who was talking or texting while driving. (gosafelyca.org) Worse yet, this truth is not a surprise for most drivers.
Almost 47 percent of California drivers acknowledge that using a cellphone while driving is dangerous. However, many fail to resist the temptation despite this knowledge. (gosafelyca.org) This means you need to know as much as you can about distracted driving, its prevention and how to protect yourself.
Here at the Law Offices of Esteban L. Valenzuela & Associates, we have seen the damage distracted driving can cause. This is why we have assembled some key information to help you protect yourself and your family.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Though talking and texting while driving is the most prevalent type of distracted driving, it is not the only type. Talking to passengers, adjusting the infotainment console, and eating are actions that can distract you while driving. Anything that takes your attention away from the road is a potential hazard.
How Can I Avoid Distracted Driving Accidents?
To avoid falling victim to these distractions, consider taking the following safety steps:
- Do not eat or drink when you drive.
- Program your GPS, infotainment system or other devices before you start driving.
- Set rules for your passengers to follow to help minimize the chances of a distraction.
- If you drop something while driving, do not immediately pick it up. Pullover first.
Even if you are following all these safety measures, other drivers may fail to drive responsibly. Here are a few things you can do to stay safe around negligent drivers:
- Stay vigilant. If you see someone driving while distracted, try to avoid driving near them.
- Look for signs of distracted driving such as swerving, slowing down and speeding up abruptly, slow responses to traffic signals and excessive following distances.
- Keep vehicles you suspect of distracted driving in front of you and keep a safe distance, so you can respond to them quickly.
- If the distracted driver becomes too erratic, contact the authorities.
California’s Distracted Driving Laws
In California, it is illegal to operate a vehicle while using/holding a handheld device. You must use hands-free methods to operate any electronic device used while driving. You may also swipe or tap the screen only once to activate or deactivate a feature. These rules apply at stoplights and stop signs. Emergency situations, such as needing to call 911, are the only exceptions to these laws.
Violating California distracted driving laws can result in fines, but new legislation is going into effect soon. After July 1, 2021, any violation of hands-free driving laws will result in the addition of a point to your California driver’s license. If you get too many points on your license, the state can revoke it.
Our Santa Maria Car Accident Attorneys Are Ready to Help
It is important to take precautions when it comes to distracted driving. Following the simple tips we discussed above will help, but other drivers may not take such safety measures. If their negligence causes a car collision that injures you or your family, we can help.
The car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Esteban L. Valenzuela & Associates help the injured with compassionate care. Our attorneys understand the struggle you are facing as you recover from a crash. Let us help ease your burden. Proving that distracted driving caused your injuries can be difficult, but we have strategies that may help.
For a free consultation, call (805) 608-3743 or fill out our online contact form today!