Driving is an enormous responsibility that a lot of people treat like just another daily task. This means that there are many drivers focusing on just about anything else but the task at hand. You have probably noticed just how big the problem of distracted driving is while traveling on Tennessee roads.

According to AAA, distracted drivers kill around 3,000 people each and every year. The problem is bigger than just phones, too. In fact, distracted driving was around long before smart phones ever existed.

Staying mentally focused

We live in a world full of distractions. Those distractions do not disappear when we get behind the wheel, and indeed they may get even more dangerous. Mental distractions are when the brain focuses on something other than driving and can last for much longer than physical distractions. For example, a driver can still be mentally distracted for almost 30 seconds after completing a physical distraction, such as texting or making a phone call.

Even seemingly normal behavior in the car can be a distraction. Talking with a passenger, taking a drink of water or eating are all behaviors that can contribute to a serious or fatal accident. The problem with all of these behaviors is the same — they take the driver’s hands, eyes or mind off of driving.

What about hands free?

Tennessee has had a “Hands Free” law since July 1, 2019. This law prohibits virtually all drivers from using handheld mobile devices behind the wheel. First-time offenders have to shell out $50 in fines for this Class C misdemeanor.

While keeping people’s hands on the wheel is good, this law does not affect the mental aspect of distracted driving. Having a phone conversation is still mentally distracting even if the driver never touches his or her phone. Even simply taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds actually doubles the chance of causing an accident.

What can drivers do?

Tennessee drivers should be prepared to take responsibility for their actions behind the wheel. Some may find it helpful to turn their phones on silent and keep them safely stored in a bag or the dash. Those who are really struggling with their phone use behind the wheel could try turning their devices on airplane mode and storing them out of reach.

Unfortunately, all of the helpful tips in the world cannot undo your distracted driving accident. Instead, it is time to focus on your future, like how you will pay your medical bills and cover your lost wages. Do not delay in reaching out to a knowledgeable attorney for guidance during this difficult time. Working closely with someone who understands your situation can prove helpful when pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.