woman multitasking while driving

Tips From A Car Accident Lawyer in PA On Preventing Distracted Driving


  • To prevent driving while distracted and the risk of motor vehicle crashes, focus solely on operating your motor vehicle and remove any distractions before getting into your car.
  • Prior to starting the journey, complete conversations with passengers to maintain attention on the road, thereby lowering the likelihood of car accidents.
  • Educating inexperienced drivers, especially teens, about the dangers and consequences of distracted driving is necessary to create a safe environment on the road.

Picture yourself cruising down a busy street in Pennsylvania, jamming to your favorite song on the radio. Suddenly, your phone buzzes – a new message. You quickly glance at the screen, thinking it’ll only distract you for a second. But in that split second, out of nowhere, your life flashes before your eyes.

Panic sets in as you slam on the brakes, but it’s too late. The impact is brutal and immediate, plunging you into a chaos of screeching tires and shattering glass. Your momentary distraction and careless driving lead to a heart-wrenching accident, causing serious or fatal injury to the other driver, passenger, or pedestrian.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), there were approximately 11,836 distracted driving accidents that occurred in 2022, which is a 9% increase from 2020. This also means that the number of people who need a car accident lawyer in PA increases by 9%, but also that these Pennsylvania car accident lawyers see what mistakes their clients are making on the road.

In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to get rid of distracted driving habits, straight from accident lawyers that see them in these cases. Additionally, we will discuss the prevention of developing these habits so that you, your passengers, and other drivers all stay as safe as possible.

Tip #1: Only Focus On Operating Your Motor Vehicle

While crashes involving distracted drivers in 2022 only accounted for approximately 10% of all Pennsylvania motor vehicle crashes, 61 people died in crashes involving distraction. That number is still too high to ignore.

There are so many different factors that go into what causes you to be distracted while you are driving: phone use, trying to use your navigation system, or something as simple as seeing something that catches your eye for too long.

If There’s A Distraction, Remove It

One piece of advice does hold true, regardless of what’s grabbing your attention while driving, and that’s to get rid of the distraction completely. Focusing your attention only on operating your motor vehicle is the best way for you to prevent distracted driving auto accidents that are your fault.

While this may seem too difficult to manage in a technologically advanced world, it’s simple: if it requires your attention while you are driving, pull over.

Pennsylvania’s Laws On Driving While Distracted

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes that Pennsylvania does have state laws against texting and driving, but it does not have laws that ban handheld device communication while operating a motor vehicle.

While this may not be the case for many drivers who find themselves at fault in a distracted driving accident, it proves the point that just eliminating texting and driving doesn’t solve the issue. It’s up to you, as the driver, to remove all forms of distraction when operating a car, or pull over to address them.

Tip #2: Anything That Can Be Done Before Using a Car, Do It Then

Imagine you’re running late for an important meeting and you decide to multitask while driving to make up for lost time. You quickly grab a bite to eat, your phone, and your car keys as you dash out the door. Once you start driving, you balance your coffee in one hand, your breakfast sandwich in the other, and steer your car with your knees.

You try to navigate traffic while also trying to figure out your phone’s GPS. When voice commands don’t work, you take a glance at your phone screen, momentarily taking your eyes off the road.

Multi-Tasking In Your Car Could Make For An Even More Eventful Morning

Most of us can imagine a morning like the one outlined above. However, multitasking while you are driving is one of the most risky things you can do to put yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road in danger.

A great principle to put into place, from a car accident lawyer in PA, is before getting into your car is to do anything that can be done at home before you put the keys in your ignition. Here are some examples:

  • Before getting into your car, make sure you have everything you will need for your trip. This includes any food or drinks that you might want to consume during your drive.
  • If you are traveling to an unfamiliar location, make sure you have the route planned out beforehand or use voice commands for navigation systems before starting your drive.
  • Familiarize yourself with any features on your phone or in your car that will allow it to work hands-free during your trip. This includes setting up voice commands, using Bluetooth or hands-free calling features, and adjusting music settings before starting your drive.

By taking care of these tasks beforehand, you can focus solely on driving once you hit the road. This will not only help to prevent you from driving while distracted but also help to prevent potential car accidents from happening by your hand.

Tip #3: Get Your Passengers On Board Helping You Prevent Driving While Distracted Car Accidents

man in blue shirt and glasses in car texting while driving

While outside distractions can be a major cause of distracted driver accidents, your passengers can also play a big role. Friends, family members, and even pets in the car can often be a distraction to you as a driver.

Pennsylvania car accident attorneys recommend setting boundaries to what can happen in the car while driving to help keep everyone safe in the vehicle and to prevent the amount of car accident victims daily from rising.

Setting Appropriate Distraction Boundaries For Your Passengers

It’s important to have conversations with your passengers before you start driving to set expectations for behavior while on the road. This may include putting away electronic devices, keeping noise levels down, and avoiding unnecessary conversations that can be distracting.

Your Passengers Can Help You Stay Focused

To maintain focus on the road, involve your passengers in tasks like answering calls, navigating, and changing music. By engaging them in preventing distraction while driving, you create a safe environment for everyone. This reduces the risk of car accidents and promotes good habits.

Tip #4: Educate Younger Drivers On The Dangers of Driving While Distracted

Inexperienced drivers, especially teenagers, are often more prone to engaging in risky behavior. In 2022, drivers ages 16 to 21 years old were responsible for over 64% of multi-vehicle crashes in Pennsylvania. As a responsible driver and a role model for other drivers on the road, it’s important to educate young drivers about the dangers of driving while they’re distracted.

By educating them on the statistics and consequences of distractions while driving, as well as setting a good example yourself, you can help prevent serious accidents caused by drivers who are distracted. Encourage them to stay focused on the road and remind them to put their phone away while driving.

Keep Spreading Awareness and Taking Action

It’s not enough to just educate yourself and those around you about the dangers of driving distracted. It’s also important to take action in your community by supporting campaigns, advocating the state and federal government for stricter laws, and setting a good example on the road.

Together we can make the roads safer for everyone and prevent as many accidents and crashes caused by drivers who are distracted as we can. As we educate more of our communities on these voluntary guidelines about distracted driving, the less serious injuries and fatal crashes we prevent from happening.

When You Need a Car Accident Attorney in PA, Call On Westmoreland Injury Lawyers

Driving while distracted is a serious issue that affects numerous people every day. It’s not just about texting and driving – any form of cognitive distraction can lead to devastating car accidents. If you’re in need of an experienced accident attorney for your car accident case, we can help at Westmoreland Injury Lawyers. To schedule your legal consultation, contact us today.


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