Distracted driving, where motorists do not devote sufficient attention to the driving task, has become a major and deadly problem in recent years. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates more than 26,000 individuals died on U.S. roadways between 2012 and 2019 because of distracted driving.
Thanks to educational campaigns from federal, state and local governments, virtually everyone knows it is unsafe to send a text message while driving a car. Distracted driving, though, is not only about using a smartphone behind the wheel.
Manual distractions include anything that takes a driver’s hands away from the steering wheel or his or her feet away from the pedals. Here are some common manual distractions:
- Changing the radio station
- Sitting cross-legged
- Eating fast food
When drivers hit the road, it is important to listen to environmental sounds. After all, motorists should hear approaching emergency vehicles, screeching car tires and even mechanical noises. The following auditory distractions may make doing so impossible:
- Listening to loud or uptempo music
- Having discussions with passengers
- Making hands-free phone calls
If drivers have had their licenses for years, they may assume safely operating a motor vehicle does not require much mental focus. Nevertheless, motorists who let their minds wander may not be able to respond to driving emergencies. Mental distractions may include any of the following:
- Listening too intently to a podcast
- Thinking about a work meeting
- Mentally planning an upcoming event
Safe and responsible drivers keep both eyes on the road, occasionally checking their mirrors for approaching traffic. The following visual distractions may be a recipe for disaster:
- Reading a text message or e-mail
- Looking at passing scenery
- Watching a wreck on the other side of the road
Even if you do not witness it, distracted driving may put your life and personal wellbeing in jeopardy every time you climb behind the wheel. Fortunately, if you suffer a serious injury in a motor vehicle accident involving distracted driving, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the distracted driver who caused the crash.