Did you know that there are more than 33,000 accidents in the United States a year? Fatalities from car accidents number in the tens of thousands, and distracted driving is one of the leading causes of these accidents.
If you’ve been curious about distracted driving’s impact on the road, we’re here to help. Read on for some of the causes of distracted driving and how to avoid them.
What’s a Distraction?
Anything that removes your focus from the road constitutes distracted driving. Some of these are more intense than others but are still something you need to consider.
Light conversation or itching your face is unlikely to cause a severe issue. But things that remove your hands from the wheel can cause significant issues. A distraction can be anything that interferes with your senses while driving. Noise, visual stimuli, and physical touch are all things that can take your mind, ears, and eyes off the road and potentially cause a terrible accident.
Here are a few of the most common forms of distracted driving.
There are countless hazards on the road that will remove your eyes from driving. Arguably the most common hazard here is roadside billboards or advertisements.
Billboards are frequently found near the road, serving as an advertisement for passing drivers. There are even vehicles that will have ads on them, with some areas having vans and trucks that drive around with television screens showing ads.
You can also take your eyes off the road to find something in your car or to look around. Many accidents are caused by people “rubbernecking” at automotive accidents as they pass. As the name suggests, this is simply looking at a crash as you pass, distracting yourself.
These hazards are especially dangerous in areas with other vehicles. You might miss a stoplight or a passing pedestrian if you’re looking elsewhere. Keep your eyes on the road to ensure your attention stays where it should.
Having your eyes off the road is dangerous, but far from the only form of distracted driving. Many forms of distractions might take your hands off the wheel entirely.
For example, you might have dropped something and are attempting to grab it. Doing so leads to you taking at least one hand off the wheel while you search for it. Oftentimes, this leads to you looking for it as well, completely removing your focus from driving.
You also might only have one hand on the wheel if you’re eating while you drive, changing your music station, or another distraction. It’s even dangerous to be holding the hand of a passenger or otherwise interacting while driving.
Taking your hands off the wheel will stop you from being able to turn quickly if you need to avoid something. It also is a sign that your mind is distracted from your driving.
Though these are the most common forms of distraction, they are far from the only. One common issue is when we feel like we’re completely focused on the road but are truly distracted.
A form of this might be having a conversation with your passengers. While your eyes might focus on the road and your hands on the wheel, you’re distracted nonetheless with part of your mind focusing on the conversation.
Your conversational partner doesn’t need to be in the vehicle with you, either. You might have a conversation on your cell phone and keep your hands on the wheel but have your mind on your phone and conversation.
These distractions can drastically lower your reflexes and reaction time. That lack of reaction is all it takes for you to miss a signal or plow into a vehicle without realizing it.
Past this common distraction, letting your concentration lapse is just as dangerous. It’s far from uncommon to let your mind wander and daydream of something else while you drive. You might also focus on thoughts of something else or planning for the rest of your day and week.
The latter is especially common during heavy traffic or a standstill on the interstate. While boredom in these moments makes pure concentration difficult, it’s still crucial to remain focused on your driving.
These distractions might feel harmless but can lead to fatal accidents. Do everything you can to remain completely focused. While a silent vehicle is highly unlikely, try to avoid serious or complex conversations while driving to avoid having your mind slip towards the subject.
Get Help if You’ve Been in an Accident with a Distracted Driver
If the unfortunate happens and you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t go it alone. An experienced car accident lawyer can advocate for your best interest and pursue fair compensation for your damages. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, you can count on us to work tirelessly for your quality of life. With our long track record of success, we’ve helped people just like you move forward after sustaining an injury that was caused by another’s negligence. Contact us now for a free legal review.