Distracted driving is a dangerous and significant problem in the United States. Hundreds of people are injured or killed in distracted driving accidents every day.
Most distracted driving accidents are due to drivers using their cell phones. Texting, talking on the phone, and even just holding a phone while driving can be distracting. Other common distractions include eating, drinking, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio, and using GPS navigation devices.
Any activity that removes your hands off the wheel averts your eyes off the road, or takes your mind off of driving is a distraction. And any distraction can be dangerous. Here, several of the dangers of distracted driving will be explained further.
Distracted Takes Your Attention Away From Driving
We’ve all been there. You’re driving on the road, focusing on the traffic ahead, when suddenly another driver cuts you off or weaves in and out of their lane. What’s going on? It’s likely they were distracted and not paying attention to the road.
Distracted driving is any activity that momentarily takes your attention away from driving. It can be anything from talking on the phone to fiddling with the radio. And it’s a growing problem. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data in 2020 shows that 38,824 people were killed in car accidents, 3,142 involving distracted drivers. That’s around 10 people per day.
Why is distracted driving so perilous? Because it disrupts your focus and attention away from the task of driving. According to an auto accident attorney working in Illinois, distracted driving can be considered negligence. You have a legal duty to follow traffic laws when driving on the street. You’re more likely to make mistakes when you’re not paying attention to the road. You may fail to see a stop sign or traffic light, or you could miss a turn. You might not notice a pedestrian crossing the street. And if you’re going fast, it can be hard to stop in time if something unexpected happens.
Distracted driving is hazardous for young drivers. In 2015, nearly one in five drivers who were involved in fatal accidents were distracted before the event of the crash, according to the NHTSA.
If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, filing a personal injury lawsuit against the driver may be one of your options. An experienced auto accident attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options.
Distracted Driving Dampens Your Reaction Time
Your center of focus should be the road and your surroundings when driving. However, many drivers allow themselves to become distracted, which can result in decreased reaction time and even accidents. One of the most typical forms of distracted driving is using a cell phone. Even just a few seconds of distraction can cause an accident.
As mentioned earlier, distracted driving is hazardous because it takes your attention away from the task of driving. When you’re not paying attention to the road, you’re more likely to make mistakes or miss something important. This can lead to accidents or near-misses. In some cases, distracted driving can even result in fatal accidents.
There are several ways to sidestep distracted driving. First, put your mobile phone out of reach before you start driving. Pull your vehicle over to a location that’s out of danger if you need to use it for directions or music. Second, plan your route before you head out, so you don’t have to look at a map while you’re behind the wheel. Third, avoid distractions like eating, drinking, or changing the radio station. Keeping your focus on the road can help keep yourself and others safe.
Distracted Driving Can Increase Your Stress Levels
As mentioned earlier, it’s important to stay focused on the task at hand when you drive: operating your vehicle safely. But in our increasingly connected world, it’s all too easy to get distracted while behind the wheel.
As stated earlier, distracted driving is any activity that is not related to responsible and defensive driving. This can include talking on the phone, texting, eating, drinking, or even daydreaming.
It’s become a growing problem in recent years as more and more people use their phones while driving. In fact, distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of car accidents.
There are several dangers associated with distracted driving. For one, it increases your stress levels. This is because you’re not fully focused on the task, and your mind is trying to process multiple things simultaneously.
This can lead to mistakes being made, and in some cases, accidents. Distracted driving can also cause you to miss vital cues from other drivers or pedestrians. This increases the chances of an accident occurring.
Distracted Driving Can Impair Your Decision-Making
When driving, it’s important to be alert and aware of your surroundings. That means paying attention to the road and other vehicles and being able to react quickly and make split-second decisions if necessary. Unfortunately, distracted driving can make it difficult to do either of those things.
Three main types of distractions can occur while driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distractions take your eyes off the road; manual distractions take your hands off the wheel, and cognitive distractions take your mind off of driving. All three of these can impair your ability to drive safely.
Visual distractions include looking at a map or GPS, reading a text message or email, or even just looking at something other than the road. Even if your eyes are on the road, if you’re not really focusing on driving, you could miss something important.
Manual distractions occur when you take your hands off the wheel to do something else, like fumbling for a dropped phone or reaching for a drink. This can make it difficult to steer or brake if necessary.
Cognitive distractions are perhaps the most dangerous because they cause you to lose focus on driving altogether. Talking on the phone, daydreaming, or even being preoccupied with thoughts can all lead to cognitive distraction. If your mind is elsewhere, you’re less likely to be aware of what’s happening on the road around you.
To keep your mind on driving, it’s important to avoid all distractions. That means putting away your phone, not eating or drinking while driving, and keeping your eyes and hands on the wheel. If you can’t focus on driving, pull over to a safe location until you’re able to give your full attention to the task at hand.
Distracted driving is a very real danger on the roads today. Understanding the different types of distractions and how they can impact your driving ability can help keep yourself and others safe when behind the wheel. Remember, even a momentary distraction can lead to a devastating accident. Drive safely!