Many employees talk on the phone while driving as part of their job. In some cases, they may be communicating with a dispatcher or may be calling in to report where they are. In some cases, employers allow employees to use hands-free devices so they can stay in touch with their workers while on the road. Not only do employers want to be able to reach their workers, but in many cases a workday doesn’t stop just because someone is on the road. Employees may still feel pressured to respond to e-mails, company communication, or requests when they’re on the road.
If you’re a worker who talks on the phone or with dispatch as part of your job when you’re driving, you could be putting yourself at risk of distracted driving accidents. In Hollywood and across Florida, people are seriously injured or killed each year in company cars and delivery trucks as a result of distracted drivers.
To prevent distracted driving while you work, make sure that you:
- Never use a hand-held device when driving. Texting or dialing the phone with your hands while also trying to keep an eye on the road is a recipe for disaster. Even the fraction of a second you look down to read a text can be a enough time to get into a serious accident which can result in paralysis, amputation, permanent head injury, and even fatalities. Your handheld device should be off and stored safely away when you drive. It can be safest to put it on airplane mode so no texts or calls are coming in and there’s no chance you will be distracted by a ringing phone.
- Limit your use of hands-free devices, even they’re allows as part of your job. Even if your employer allows you to use hands-free devices, keep in mind that these are not without risk. Studies have shown that hands-free devices still distract you because you may be thinking about the conversation you’re having instead of your driving. While hands-free devices ensure your hands stay on the wheel and your eyes can stayed focused on the road, your mind is still distracted and that can still cause a car accident.
- Look for safe places to pull over if you need to make a call or text. If you do need to communicate on the road, look for a safe place to pull over to make your call or text. This is much safer than trying to do it while driving. It can be a good idea to schedule breaks to check your communications if you’re going to be driving for a while. Going into a parking lot at set times allows you to rest and allows you to respond to any e-mails or texts before turning off your devices and continuing on your way.
- Adjust controls, GPS, music and other dashboard items before you start to drive. This way, you’re not distracted by them as you try to drive.
- Drive defensively. Always think three or four moves ahead. This ensures you stay focused on driving and not on anything else. If you can’t use a hands-free device while thinking three moves ahead, it is a sure sign you are too distracted to drive.
- Get additional training. Getting additional training from an experienced, professional instructor can help you gain more skills and confidence behind the wheel. Employers are even willing to pay for this additional training in some cases as it reduces their own liability for accidents caused by company cars or by employees. Ask your employer whether such training is available for workers at your company.
Have you been injured in a truck accident while working? You may be eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. Contact Flaxman Law Group for a free consultation with a Hollywood workers’ compensation attorney to find out what options might be right for you.