Distracted Driving Does Not Just Mean Your Phone

April 13, 2022
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As we detailed earlier this month, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  It is a time when we can focus on the most important ways you can keep yourself and your passengers safe while you’re behind the wheel.  Being distracted while driving is one of the most serious ways you can get into a New Haven auto accident and in almost all cases it can be prevented.

While many people when they talk about distracted driving focus primarily on your phone and how it can become problematic while you’re driving, your phone is not, by far, the only thing that can distract you while you’re driving.  There are actually quite a few things that can distract you while you’re driving, even just your own thoughts in your head can be distracting.  Today we’re going to focus on one of those things that you may not think about when you’re worrying about being distracted behind the wheel, but that can be a very serious distraction and cause you to take your attention away from the road for long stretches of time, passengers.

You may not think of a passenger in your vehicle as a distraction because you have passengers in your car all the time, but truth be told if you are not approaching driving with passengers in your car the right way they can be a serious distraction.  While more experienced drivers are often less susceptible to this type of distraction, they can still be drawn into a heavy conversation that takes both their mind and their eyes off the road.  The most susceptible group to this type of distraction is certainly teen drivers who often travel with passengers and in some cases are traveling with more passengers then the vehicle legally holds which presents a whole other set of problems.

We’re not suggesting that you stop driving people around and limit having passengers in your car, that is not the solution.  There are however, a few things you can do that can help reduce the distractions that passengers in your vehicle present.  Some of these changes to behavior may include, but are not limited to;

1.) Limit conversations to surface level discussions.  Getting into a conversation about something that will get you excitable will certainly be a distraction and should be avoided at all costs.

2.) Make sure there are only the amount of passengers that are allowable by law in your vehicle.  If your vehicle is over capacity the chances are there will be increased distractions from the passengers.

3.) Require that all passengers wear a seatbelt and stay seated at all times.

4.) Do not allow passengers to control any of the elements of the vehicle, including the radio.  As the driver, you must be in control of all things inside the vehicle to avoid distractions.

It can be hard to set rules for passengers in your vehicle.  They are generally friends or family that you want to be able to feel comfortable in your car and driving with you, however comfort should not come at the cost of safety.  If you are finding yourself distracted by the passengers in your vehicle you may want to even pull over until you can get the passengers under control, if not it could end up leading to a New Haven auto accident.

Getting into an accident with passengers in the vehicle may require that you speak with an attorney that can help you deal with insurance companies and claims.  If you are injured you may need to speak with someone who is experienced in this type of incident and can protect your long-term interests.  Contact our office and one of our attorneys can work with you.