As a personal injury lawyer, I help a lot of our friends and neighbors in Bellingham and Whatcom County after they've been hurt in a car accident. Since four out of five drivers admit to using their phone while driving, and checking a text is akin to driving with your eyes closed for the length of an entire football field at highway speed, many of these crashes are due to distracted driving. It is shocking to hear their stories, and to see the effects of someone else's devastatingly poor decision. It's my job to help them or their survivors get through this incredibly difficult time while they seek justice and fair compensation.
The photos and the evidence can be hard to see, and I think that's why the folks behind PSAs don't hold back. Distracted driving is a completely preventable and illegal activity. Here are ten tips for what to do instead of driving while distracted:
1. put your phone in your backseat where you cannot reach it.
2. if you need to use your phone - if it is truly that important that it cannot wait - then pull over.
3. don't multi-task while you are driving. When you're driving, just drive.
4. when you are a passenger, offer to use the phone if you notice the driver reaching for the cell phone.
5. also, as a passenger, help the driver by scanning the road and quieting down when there is congestion, construction, or other driving situations that take more concentration.
6. finish dressing and grooming before you hit the road.
7. take the time to prepare for your drive before you get in the car. Plot your GPS route, adjust seats, mirrors, climate control, and sound systems before you put the car in drive. It takes a minute and can save your life.
8. avoid eating in the car. If you must eat while driving, avoid messy foods that are difficult to manage.
9. secure children and pets before getting underway. If they need your attention, pull off the road safely to care for them. Reaching into the backseat can cause you to lose control of the vehicle. For more on the importance of securing pets in your car while you drive, click here.
10. take the distracted driving pledge. Share it with your friends and family and encourage them to think about their own driving habits.
And now for the PSAs. Some of these are graphic and emotionally charged.