We hear about it all the time. Distracted drivers, especially those who engage in texting and driving, take their eyes off the road, thereby causing a serious car accident that leaves unsuspecting motorists injured or killed. The statistics are alarming, too. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2019 alone. It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of drivers are injured in these kinds of wrecks each year.
And the damage that is left in the wake of a distracted driving accident can be extensive. In many cases, victims are left with injuries that are so severe that they are disabling, while others are left with injuries that prove fatal. Even those who escape their accident with less severe injuries can face an enormous amount of pain and suffering, as well as devastating financial losses. And it can take years, sometimes even decades, to reach the stability that these victims once had.
Contributing factors to distracted driving
Distracted driving can occur in more ways than texting and driving. In fact, there are numerous distractions that can rip a driver’s attention away from the roadway, including:
- Searching for something in the cabin of the vehicle
- Engaging with passengers
- Changing the radio
- Using a navigation device
- Gawking at something on the side of the road
But are seemingly less involved distractions safer for drivers? Probably not.
The effects of distracted driving
Some people mistakenly think that multi-tasking while driving is safe. However, research demonstrates just how dangerous distracted driving can be. One study found that cellphone use while driving can decrease driving skills as much as having too much to drink, which equates to an accident risk that is four times higher than average. After all, they call distracted driving “inattentive blindness” for a reason.
But these statistics likely apply to even seemingly minor distractions, such as eating, too. This is because the focus is on attention being taken away from driving rather than merely taking one’s eyes off of the road. Daydreaming, for example, can prove just as dangerous as texting and driving in some instances.
Here are some of the concrete effects of distracted driving, regardless of what that distraction looks like:
- Decreased reaction time
- Inability to recognize hazards and traffic signs and signals
- Increased risk of being unable to remain in one’s lane
- Decreased ability to maintain speed and brake appropriately
Again, these are just some of the risks associated with distracted driving, any one of which can quickly lead to a devastating car accident.
Reducing the risk of distracted driving
For decades now, scientists and traffic experts have been trying to find ways to decrease distracted driving. The sad truth, though, is that distracted driving is becoming more prevalent than ever. However, here are a few things that you and your loved ones can do to eliminate distracted driving:
- Put your cellphone in an inaccessible area of the vehicle
- Have your passenger manipulate electronic devices such as the radio and navigation system
- Stop before trying to read, groom, or eat
- Keep your hands on the wheel at all times
- Don’t gawk at car accidents and other points of interests alongside the road
- Remember that distraction affects you, too, regardless of how attentive you’re being
These may seem like common sense tips, but people fail to abide by them all the time. Far too often, drivers think that they can take proper precautions that allow them to engage in distracting behavior while also driving safely. But things change quickly on the road, which means that even the most prepared and attentive drivers can be taken by surprise. Therefore, it’s best to avoid distraction altogether instead of just trying to engage in distracting activities in a safe fashion.
Legal help is here when you need it
Distracted driving affects hundreds of thousands of families each year. If you’re one of them, then you probably want some sort of accountability for the individual who harmed you or your loved one. If that’s the case, then you might want to consider reaching out to an experienced personal injury law firm like ours that can help you analyze the situation and build the case that is right for you.