Missoula’s famous Slant Street neighborhood can be a little challenging to navigate, even sometimes for people who live here. Last weekend, a Baltimore photographer, Wilson Freeman, tweeted a picture of Missoula’s Slant Street neighborhood from the air. According to an article in the Billings Gazette, Freeman was an urban planning major in college and recently came across the picture of the streets and decided to tweet the image out. According to the article, Freeman said, “It always looks funny. . . I think people forget stuff like that happens.” The photo was later identified by a friend as Missoula.
Anyone from Missoula probably loves but also knows the problems of the Slant Streets. The triangle-shaped lots and no left-hand turns make driving difficult, and because of the strange direction of the streets, it is easy for walkers to get turned around. Specific articles from the Missoulian have documented the history in the past. The article featured in the Billings Gazette itself gives a quick account and points out that Thrillist.com listed Missoula as one of nine worst designed cities in the world. Although people might think Missoula is not well designed, we believe the Slant Streets give the town its unique character and charm that makes it a fun place to live.
As mentioned, many Missoulians probably know how to get around without any problem. However, Missoula is home to a vast array of visitors. How are they supposed to know the ins and outs of the roads? Or let’s imagine you go to a city or town you’ve never been to, let’s say Boston. Boston is a beautiful city, full of rich history and beautiful landmarks, but part of the city’s unique history is its piecemeal urban planning. Builders simply built as they went and the result is a city with strange, narrow streets that make it easy to get lost. It is quite likely if you visited Boston for the first time, you would feel a little lost and the roads and patterns of streets might seem a bit bizarre.
Unfortunately, driving in a new area can cause many drivers to become distracted as they examine landmarks and try to navigate their way through new terrain. Distracted driving is hazardous. It claimed 3,477 lives and injured 391,000 people in 2015. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as any activity that can divert your attention from driving. This might include things like eating, texting, talking to people, or even fiddling with the navigation system.
To avoid such the horrible consequences of distracted driving, we have a few simple suggestions that can help you be a safer, less distracted driver. Ultimately, there are an infinite number of things that can be distracting. In this list, we have included three things that are more common among drivers. However, you should assess your driving habits and ask yourself what typically distracts you the most. These suggestions don’t apply only when you are driving in a new neighborhood, but anytime you are behind the wheel.
- Don’t use your phone! Theoretically, the only time you should use your phone is in emergency situations while driving. If you do need to use it, pull over to the side of the road. If your navigation app is not functioning correctly, don’t try to fix the issue while you are driving down the streets. Most of the distractions people typically deal with while they drive come from their phones.
- Don’t eat and drive. We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t drink and drive, but eating and driving can also become a huge distraction for many people. Perhaps you get out of the house in the morning a little later than expected and you think that you’ll just multitask as you drive. Don’t do it! Most people think they are very good at multitasking. However, a study done by researchers at the University of Utah a few years ago shows that those who believe they are good at multitasking are really bad at it.
- Don’t drive when you’re tired. Operating a vehicle without adequate rest can interfere with your ability to focus on essential tasks (like driving). According to Healthline.com, when you don’t get enough sleep, you have trouble with thinking and concentration.
As always, if you have any questions regarding an accident, whether your were distracted or not, contact The Advocates Law Firm. We can help you know what to do next.