With so many Texas families hitting the road this holiday season, keeping kids safe in the car is a central concern, and a driver needs to devote all of his or her attention to driving. As one of Texas’ most trusted and experienced car crash and personal injury law firms, Patterson Law Group wants every holiday journey to be a safe one. We would prefer if you didn’t have to use our services, so please keep distractions at bay anytime you buckle up. An injury doesn’t have to be catastrophic to be life changing.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, one in five crashes involves driver distraction. This applies to both long road trips for the holidays and short jaunts across town, because distractions are everywhere – inside the car, outside the car, and especially coming from the back seat. Here are a few common causes of distracted driving during the holidays, and how to avoid taking your eyes off the road.
Leave Distractions at Home
If you think teen drivers are the worst offenders, think again. Putting on makeup behind the wheel, eating a fast-food meal while driving, and fiddling with the entertainment console while cruising down the highway are all things that Moms and Dads do regularly. Apply your makeup before you get in the car. Make sure your kids have all the entertainment and snacks they’re likely to need for the trip, safely secured in the back seat. Don’t forget to program your GPS beforehand with all relevant navigational points so your vehicle knows the route, and keep your sunglasses and other essentials handy in a nearby cup holder.
Let the Kids Choose Their Own Snacks and Playlist
If you want to concentrate fully on driving safely, do yourself a favor and let the kids choose the snacks and pastimes they want to take along, to avoid fights over food or entertainment. It’s not enough for kids to argue over the seating arrangements anymore, when they can squabble about who controls the backseat DVR and who gets the last Dr. Pepper. Negotiate the movie selections before you get in the car. And use a backseat organizer so that favorite toys and other essentials are easily accessible, unless you enjoy pulling over to cater to your tiny passengers’ every request.
Use Your Cell Phone for Emergencies Only
The risk of collision skyrockets when drivers use cell phones, whether holding the phone or using a hands-free device. While there are statewide laws concerning cell phone use while driving in Texas, individual cities have taken the matter into their own hands. If you’re caught using your phone behind the wheel in San Antonio, for example, it will cost you $200; in Austin, the fine is $500. Texting while driving, one of the most dangerous distractions, is now illegal in over 40 Texas cities. No text or phone call is worth your attention when you’re driving.
Pull Off the Road if You Feel Sleepy
Obviously, catching a few z’s while driving is a bad idea, yet a research study showed that 37 percent of drivers have admitted to nodding off while driving at least once in their lives. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving, according to experts, so please don’t risk it. Ever. For more helpful safety tips and facts about driving habits, follow our #ArriveAliveTX campaign, launching this January.
We’re Here if You Need Us
If you’re injured on the road, call us to help you get over the medical and legal hurdles, and to level the playing field against ruthless insurance companies. Humans are limited in the amount of information they can process at one time, which makes multi-tasking behind the wheel a recipe for disaster. Your one job as a good driver is to keep you and your passengers safe on the road. Our only job, as one of the premier personal injury and car collision law firms in Texas, is to help you get the justice and compensation you deserve after a crash. Call Patterson Law Group at 817-784-2000 for a free consultation.