Distracted driving has quickly become one of the greatest dangers on roads across the country. While there are more people on the road than ever, the real reason behind this increase in distracted driving is the astronomical rise in the number of distractions that drivers have at their fingertips. Technology may give us a greater ability to connect with one another while on the go, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for our safety on the road.
Being aware of the types of distraction and their causes on the road will not only help you understand what dangers you may face on the road, it can prevent you from becoming one yourself.
This occurs when a driver takes his or her eyes off the wheel. Where are they looking? Most commonly, at smart phones, radio dials, other vehicle occupants, or signs on the road. While some of these are acceptable, it only takes a moment to lose track of the road and potential dangers. When cars are travelling fast enough, it only takes seconds to travel hundreds of yards. During that time, other cars can pull in front of you, pedestrians may cross the road, you can approach red lights/stop signs, and the road can curve. If you’re not looking at the road, you will not see anything coming.
Most drivers do not operate their vehicles with hands at 10 and 2 during the entire trip. However, a driver that is actively using one of his or her hands to perform another task will not be able to control the vehicle or react to split-second hazards properly. This can include texting, changing a radio station/CD, eating or drinking, and many other tasks that are not essential to operating a vehicle. This can lead to unnecessary mistakes, like under-turning at a curve, or poor crash prevention, like swerving out of the way of debris in the road.
Taking your mind off the road may be the most difficult to manage. Both visual and manual distraction can lead to cognitive distraction, but there are many other causes as well. Talking to other people in the car or while on the phone easily lessens a person’s focus on driving. Even hands-free cell phones have been shown to cause major distraction. A wandering mind can easily lead to accidents, as people can lessen their focus on the road in favor of something more entertaining. In any case, the driver’s brain will be unable to process and react to dangers as quickly as it should, leading to many types of crashes.
The Toll on Victims
Distracted driving crashes can easily cause devastating injuries due to drivers making major mistakes on the road and not performing maneuvers to lessen or prevent a collision. These crashes commonly occur at high speeds due to a lack of braking until it is far too late. For more information on distracted driving crashes and the legal options available for victims, read more here.