Combining driving with any activity that diverts your attention is the basic definition of distracted driving. It has always been an issue, even before the popularity of cell phones.
Talking to vehicle passengers, drinking or eating, personal grooming, or even changing the radio station can divert a driver’s attention from the road. Using a map or a navigational system can also be a dangerous distraction.
Unfortunately, drivers do not always use good judgment when they are behind the wheel. The result is an ever-growing number of injury-causing accidents caused by distracted driving.
Distracted Driving: Education is Key
Educating drivers about the dangers posed by distractions can help. Unfortunately, many people simply do not understand how even the simplest tasks can degrade a driver’s attention. Many people feel that phone calls and texting are the only distractions to worry about. While cell phones and texting are particularly dangerous distractions, it is important to understand the impact that even auditory distractions can have.
Unfortunately, even education and awareness are not sufficient to completely resolve the issue. Most people have at least a basic understanding of the dangers of distractions like texting. However, even with this knowledge, a shockingly high number of individuals still engage in this risky behavior on a regular basis.
Phones and Texting: Deadly Driving Distractions
As smartphone usage continues to grow, so does the danger of people texting while driving. When texting, not only is the driver’s mental attention focused on a non-driving activity, but his or her eyes and hands are also engaged.
It is estimated that a person’s eyes leave the road for five seconds or more while reading a text, and perhaps even more if attempting to send a text message. Even when traveling at a modest fifty-five miles per hour, five seconds is enough to drive the length of a football field. Texting while driving is a dangerous activity that is actually illegal in many states.
Avoiding Dangerous Driving Distractions
Although phones are a particularly dangerous distraction, other activities can cause accidents. Basically, anything that can take a person’s mind or eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, can be cause a car, motorcycle, or truck accident. Equally dangerous are activities that cause a person to take his or her hands off the vehicle’s steering wheel—even momentarily.
When driving, you should follow some basic rules to prevent dangerous distractions. Phones should never be used for calls or texting, especially without the assistance of hands-free mode. But even in hands-free mode, a phone call can be a mental distraction that could cause an accident.
Never eat, drink, or smoke while driving. These activities are not only mentally and visually distracting, they also require at least one hand to be removed from the steering wheel. It also goes without saying that driving should never be combined with alcohol or drug consumption.
Never operate the controls of the vehicle’s music, navigational system, or temperature controls while driving, especially without the assistance of hands-free options. Pets should be safely confined when they are traveling in a vehicle. Other passengers within the vehicle should minimize activities that could potentially distract the driver, such as speaking too loudly or being rowdy.
It is also extremely important never to drive when you’re drowsy. Drowsiness can be an extremely dangerous distraction, even if the driver does not actually fall asleep while driving.
What to Do If You’re a Victim of Distracted Driving
Unfortunately, no matter how many times drivers are reminded not to drive distracted, some will still do it. When those drivers cause an accident that injures you, you’ll need to hold them accountable to get the compensation you need for your injuries and other hardships. A qualified car accident lawyer with Crowell Law Offices can help you with your distracted driving case.
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