How-Technology-Affects-Car-CrashesBack in the day, the only distractions a driver might have had to deal with were the radio and maybe a few rowdy kids in the backseat. Today, you have the added distractions of smartphones, GPS systems, CDs or iPods, just to name a few. Additionally, lawmakers and safety experts are currently in a stir about the distraction potential of Google Glass - a technology that hasn’t even been released yet. As cars and surroundings become more high tech, does it mean less safe drivers? How can you keep your tech current and still stay safe behind the wheel?

Distracted Drivers: A Problem Behind the Wheel?

According to a blog on the problem of technology behind the wheel on ComputerWorld, The National Safety Council’s estimate on car accidents that were caused because of texting while driving hover around 100,000. However, another study conducted by Carnegie Mellon University and the London School of Economics looked into the correlation between crashes and the use of a mobile phone while driving. After studying the data of approximately 8 million crashes, they found no correlation. In essence, just because a driver was on the phone was not necessarily the cause of the accident. Taking that into consideration, what’s the best practices you can take on to keep yourself safe on the road?

1) When in doubt, don’t engage.

While there are some drivers who have no problem carrying on a conversation while driving, others may not possess that skill. It comes down to the individual. Pay attention to how you drive when you’re on your phone, changing the music or even using your GPS system. If you find that you’re more distracted, having to adjust your position on the road or even speeding, then perhaps you should refrain from using your tech gear while you’re driving. According to one car accident lawyer in Denver Colorado, "It is now illegal in Colorado to text while driving, and anyone under the age of 18 is prohibited from using a cellphone at all while driving." Many states have also adopted these same types of laws due to the increase in accidents involving distracted drivers.

2) Always go for the hands free option.

Getting a mount for your cell phone and using the hands free option offers less distraction when you’re driving, as well as giving you ability to keep both hands on the wheel rather than juggling a phone. There are also some apps where you can have incoming texts read to you, and then dictate replies. The same kind of technology even works for those important incoming emails. Get these apps installed and know how they work before you even head out the door.  

3) If it requires extra attention, pull over.

Trying to program your GPS to find a location takes a bit of extra time and a lot of your attention. Don’t risk getting into an accident, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the area and roads. For example, if you are driving in Denver, there’s not only the possibility of an accident, but also for a high-altitude crash. Take the time to pull over and program in where you need to go. Additionally, use the voice feature while you’re driving, preventing you from having to divert too much attention from your driving. Find that voice deeply annoying? There is a whole range of celebrity voices you can download, from Darth Vader to Cartman from South Park.  

4)  Install some apps that can help you in the event of an emergency.

If you’re in a car accident, there are a million things you need to remember to do. Try downloading some of the new applications that can help you gather the information that both your insurance company and accident lawyer will require. Many of these applications will offer a step-by-step process to take photos of damage, alert the police and emergency services to your crash and even record digital witness statements. The more information you’re able to gather, the better off you’ll be when seeing your accident attorney or getting a settlement from the insurance company.

Technology doesn’t have to be a curse behind the wheel. In fact, it can be exceptionally helpful if used correctly. Pay attention to your personal distraction level while you’re driving and set the right standard for yourself.  

With the increase in technology, writer Melanie Fleury is not surprised when she sees drivers texting while driving. She is, however, very concerned. She was inspired to write this article after reading the blog posts of a car accident lawyer in Denver Colorado that outlined tragic accidents due to drivers use, or misuse, of technology.