Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of auto accidents in the United States. In 2011, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes, and another 387,000 were injured. While cellphones are a common factor in distracted driving cases, mobile use is not the only contributor in these unfortunate instances. The NHTSA defines distracted driving as any activity that takes a person's attention away from the primary task of driving a vehicle, endangering driver, passenger, and bystander safety.
Here are some of the many types of distracted driving:
Probably the most common offense among distracted drivers, texting while driving is quite possibly the most dangerous act of distracted driving. Sending a text message requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention of the driver, all of which should be focused on the road. If you are texting while driving, you are 23 times more likely to have an auto accident.
Using a cell phone or smartphone.
Texting isn't the only thing you can do with a phone. A phone conversation shifts your focus from the road to the person on the other end of the line. Driving while talking on a cell phone decreases brain activity associated with driving by 37%. In this day and age, smartphones also distract drivers with the ability to surf the web or update social media, sometimes more dangerous than texting or talking.
Eating and drinking.
Drive-thru's and fast food make it easy for drivers to eat on the go. However, taking your eyes of the road to handle food or drink in the car can be very distracting. Taking a hand or two off the wheel to eat a burger or a handful of French fries is dangerous for you and the people around you.
Talking to passengers.
If you are having a heated discussion with your passengers, chances are your attention to the road is greatly reduced. Limit your conversations and avoid turning your head to talk to the people in the car to help prevent you from losing your focus.
Too often, people are in a rush to get to work and leave without combing their hair or applying their makeup, believing they'll have time to do this in the car. Taking your eyes of the road to apply your lipstick or mascara in the mirror is very dangerous. Avoid rushed grooming while driving and keep your eyes on the road until you are parked safely.
Reading, including maps.
Even if the book you are reading is just too good to put down, you should not attempt to read while maneuvering through traffic. This takes your eyes of the road and your attention away from the other vehicles around you.
Using a navigation system.
While a GPS navigation system helps to avoid the dangers of reading a map while driving, make sure you adjust the settings and set your destination BEFORE you start the car. Fiddling with the voice controls or finding new routes while driving forces you to take your eyes and attention off the road.
Watching a video.
While many modern vehicles have television screens installed, they are often located in areas that are out of the driver's view. This is because watching a video while driving can be incredibly distracting and dangerous for the driver and passengers. Do not attempt to watch a video on a mobile device while driving, as this increases your chances for causing an accident.
Distracted driving is a huge issue among teens and adults alike. Take precaution when operating a vehicle and take the necessary steps to ensure your attention is always on the road. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you should get help from an experienced auto accident attorney. George Sink, P.A. Injury Lawyers are available to answer your questions and concerns about distracted driving, and can help you get the compensation you deserve.