Driver uses smartphone while driving

Cell Phone & Distracted Driving Accidents: How to Protect Yourself

September 16, 2019

The past few years have unfortunately seen major increases in drivers using their phones while driving. Although there are increased regulations addressing phone use and distracted driving — most notably the new hands-free law in Minnesota — accidents continue to occur.

What causes distracted driving

Distracted driving with cell phones falls into one or more of three categories:

  • Manual distractions – when a driver has to physically remove one or both hands from the steering wheel.
  • Visual distractions – when a driver needs to look away from the road, typically to read or send a text message.
  • Cognitive distractions – when a driver’s mind is not focused on driving, typically by talking on their phone or listening intently to something else. 

Distracted driving can occur with or without using a cell phone. This can include adjusting controls, applying makeup, talking to passengers, handling pets, eating or drinking, and using GPS.

Distracted driving accidents

Texting and driving has been banned in almost every state, but that hasn’t stopped accidents from happening. According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes annually. This resulted in almost 400,000 injuries and 4,000 fatalities. Even being distracted for a few seconds can result in a fatal collision.

Distracted drivers affect everyone on the road, but there are ways you can protect yourself from accidents and injuries.

How to protect yourself from cell phone and distracted driving related accidents

Always buckle up

It is important (and the law) to always wear your seat belt. Almost half of all fatal accidents involved someone not wearing a seat belt. Seat belts prevent passengers from being ejected from the vehicle in an accident. Buckling up has been proven to save lives. 

Practice defensive driving 

Although you can’t control the actions of other drivers, you can control your own. Defensive driving can decrease the chances of an accident. As a defensive driver, you should expect other drivers to make mistakes and be prepared to react. This means you should slow down, use your blinkers, give yourself more space between others, and monitor your blind spots. 

Recognize signs of a distracted driver

Recognizing a distracted driver can help you avoid them and any accidents. Distracted driving can look like inconsistent speeding up or slowing down, weaving in and out of traffic, and staying stopped at a light longer than normal.

Stay out of blind spots

Other drivers may not be monitoring their blind spots or paying attention to the vehicles around them. Protect yourself by staying out of other vehicles’ blind spots so in the event they make a sudden lane change, your vehicle is already out of the way.

Get help from a trusted personal injury attorney

If you are a victim of a cell phone or distracted driving accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Get the help you need from attorneys who have successfully represented clients in distracted driving related cases.

With over 35 years of experience, Hall Law attorneys are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our Minneapolis attorneys today to find out what we can do for you.