Most people living in the United States spend a considerable amount of time traveling in automobiles.
A survey published in 2016 by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety found that almost 90% of Americans ages 16 and older reported driving in the past year. In addition, American drivers spend almost 18,000 minutes behind the wheel each year.
The time that we spend on the road doesn’t come without risks. And, few are immune to the dangers of distracted driving.
Read on to learn about the common causes of distracted driving and how you can avoid them!
How Are Motorists Often Driven to Distraction?
Distracted driving poses risks for both the driver and all others on the road. And unfortunately, potential distractions surround us all.
Smartphones pose a substantial risk for distractions. People tend to be more susceptible to these distractions during commutes after a long day at work, or when stuck in traffic. And, less experienced drivers may have an even greater challenge fighting potential distractions while traveling along roads and highways.
While it’s impossible to control the other cars on the road, being aware of possible distractions can help you to avoid causing accidents.
Maintaining your focus while driving could even save your life, the lives of your passengers, or the lives of innocent pedestrians.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving?
Anything that diverts a drivers’ attention from the task of safely handling their automobile qualifies as a distraction.
According to the CDC, there are three main types of distractions for drivers:
- Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel;
- Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Potential distractions while driving include anything from children fighting in the backseat to texting a friend that you’re running late. But, there are several common types of distractions that stand out as the most cited reasons for accidents and fatalities.
Texting & Driving
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics show that texting while driving was responsible for 3,500 fatalities and around 400,000 injuries. Although teens seem to be particularly prone to texting in traffic, the CDC reports that one-third of drivers ages 18-64 send text or email messages while operating a vehicle.
Today’s drivers are under pressure to keep up with busier-than-ever schedules and demands from every direction.
Many people spend a major chunk of time behind the wheel every year thinking about family, work obligations, appointments, and meet-ups with friends. When you are stopped in rush hour traffic, it’s awfully tempting to review your emails or send a pal a quick message.
But, no matter how long you have to stare at cars in front of you that seem to be moving at the speed of turtles, as soon as you pick up your phone, you’re increasing the chances of causing a car accident due to distraction.
Texting and driving can be compared to drinking and driving, due to the similar impairments and consequences these two can cause. And, despite the attempt by many jurisdictions to create fines and other legal implications for drivers who are caught texting, there hasn’t been much improvement.
If you find that your smartphone poses too great of a temptation while you’re driving, try turning off the volume and placing it in a location that’s impossible for you to reach. Some even suggest that you put your phone in the trunk to avoid potential consequences it may cause.
Driving While Intoxicated
Drinking and driving remains the top offender for causing distractions on the road. In 2016, alcohol-impaired accidents claimed the lives of almost 10,500 people.
Accidents caused by drunk drivers are highly avoidable, however, way too common. Today, there are low-cost options available in most major cities for drivers who have had a few drinks too many. Additionally, bars and restaurants can offer taxis for customers who appear intoxicated.
Regardless of your situation, there is no excuse for driving drunk. Drunk drivers face harsh penalties under the law. And, you could take the life of yourself or someone else.
Additional Driving Distractions to Consider
Additional distractions that drivers face include those caused by their passengers, “getting lost” in thought or bypassing scenery, distractions caused by other drivers on the road, the radio, and eating while driving.
Understanding the risks and consequences of distractions while driving can help keep you and others safe. Not only that, it can help you to avoid penalties imposed by the law, such as fines and even potential jail time.
Have You Been Injured By a Distracted Driver?
No one should have to pay for another driver’s mistake. Unfortunately, even if the damages caused are unintentional, distracted driving can lead to property damage, personal injury, and can even inflict trauma on innocent victims.
Fortunately, if you’ve been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, you may be able to receive compensation for any medical problems or expenses you’ve had to face. But, you must seek help in order to get the compensation that you deserve.
Driving while distracted is never a good idea. And, many of the most common distractions that affect drivers can be avoided.
Help from An Experienced Accident Attorney
When drivers get behind the wheel, they have a responsibility to practice awareness and follow safety precautions.
When they fail to do so, they risk injuring themselves or others. And, when these injuries occur, victims should not feel responsible for the damage that’s been inflicted upon them by another driver’s carelessness.
Have you been injured by a distracted driver?
We’re here to help.
Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal. Talk to Frank at 727-800-5052.