Distracted driving is becoming a concerning issue in Minnesota and around the country. A distracted driver is not only a danger to themselves but also poses a significant risk to other motorists and pedestrians. Being able to spot and avoid them is an essential skill for staying safe.
Erratic speed and inconsistent driving patterns
Distracted drivers often struggle to maintain a consistent speed and may exhibit sudden accelerations or decelerations. Their erratic driving patterns can include drifting between lanes, failing to signal turns or lane changes and even swerving.
Failure to observe traffic signals and signs
Drivers who are not paying full attention may miss traffic signals, stop signs or other road signs. If you notice a driver running red lights or stop signs, they might be distracted.
Delayed reaction times
Distracted drivers often have delayed reactions to changes in traffic conditions. They might not respond promptly to braking vehicles or unexpected hazards, putting themselves and others at risk.
Inconsistent following distances
Maintaining a safe following distance is crucial for avoiding motor vehicle accidents. Distracted drivers might tailgate other vehicles or frequently change their following distance without reason.
Unusual braking patterns
Watch for drivers who brake suddenly and unnecessarily, indicating they may be distracted and not fully aware of the traffic flow around them.
Inattentive to surroundings
Distracted drivers may appear unaware of their surroundings, often looking down at their laps. They may be manipulating electronic devices or engaging in other activities instead of focusing on the road.
Avoiding a potential accident
Allowing enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you gives you more time to react if the driver suddenly becomes distracted or makes an unexpected maneuver.
Set a positive example by refraining from using your own electronic devices while driving. Focus your attention solely on the road. Signal your turns and lane changes early, and maintain a steady speed to make your actions more predictable to other drivers.
Intersections are prime locations for distracted driving incidents. Before proceeding through an intersection, take a moment to ensure that other drivers are paying attention and obeying traffic signals.
Furthermore, be prepared for the unexpected actions of distracted drivers. Scan your surroundings frequently, anticipate potential hazards and be ready to react defensively.