The first and most important rule of driving is that your mind and eyes should always be on the road. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t always follow this rule. They engage in other seemingly harmless tasks such as eating or talking on the phone. However, these seemingly harmless tasks are distractions that often lead to road accidents.
Many car accidents in Port St. Lucie are a result of distracted driving, and the results often are devastating. Here is an overview of what causes it, how to prevent it, and what you can do if you are the victim of a distracted driver.
Dangers of Distracted Driving
The main danger of distracted driving is causing an accident. To this end, accidents caused by distracted driving claim about eight lives daily in the U.S. Dozens more suffer mild-to-severe injuries as a result.
About 2,800 people died in road accidents caused by distracted driving in 2018. Additionally, more than 400,000 people suffered life-changing injuries in the same year. One in five of the victims were pedestrians and people who were otherwise not using the road. Consequently, distracted driving poses a danger to anyone within range of the vehicle.
Types & Causes of Distracted Driving
Anything that takes your eyes and mind off the road qualifies as a distraction. This can be something as small as looking at another car or answering your phone over loud speaker. Distractions are categorized into three types:
- Visual Distractions
Everything on the road moves fast, and it is important to spot potential causes of accidents as soon as they present themselves. Consequently, taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds can have disastrous effects.
Visual distractions are distractions that get your eyes off the road. It can be something as seemingly harmless and focusing on other cars for more than a couple seconds, to something as ignorant as using your phone.
- Manual Distractions
Many drivers prefer driving with one hand on the wheel. It seems sufficient, but it is dangerous. Unfortunately, some drivers take both hands off the wheel to attend to something else. However, it doesn’t matter whether you are driving the latest autonomous (self-driving) car – you should always keep both hands on the wheel.
Manual distractions are distractions that take your hands off the road. Again, one of the most common causes of manual distractions is using the phone.
- Cognitive Distractions
You may have your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel, but you may as well be asleep if your mind is distracted. As mentioned, hazards on the road appear quickly, and your mind should always be alert to respond as quickly as possible.
Cognitive distractions are distractions that take your mind off driving. For example, reflecting about the day’s developments can qualify if your mind is too crowded to focus on the road. Again, using the phone qualifies as a cognitive distraction – it is not limited to texting or browsing, either, as talking to someone over the phone can elicit thoughts that crowd your mind.
Tips to Prevent Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is dangerous, as already established. The best way to prevent distracted driving (and its disastrous effects) is by focusing wholly on the road. Here are some tips based on the most common causes of distracted driving:
- Put Your Phone Away
The temptation to answer your phone when it rings or reply to a text message may be too overwhelming to ignore. As such, it is advisable to switch your phone off (or put it into silent mode) and put it away before starting the car. Additionally, slow down and stop safely off the road if you must use the phone.
- Eat or Sleep Before Driving
Sleeping behind the wheel and snacking while driving are also common causes of distracted driving. As such, it is advisable to eat or sleep to your satisfaction if you are feeling hungry or drowsy.
- Limit Interactions Inside & Outside the Car
Engaging with people inside and outside the car can also be distracting. As such, avoid deep conversations with your passengers and ignore distractions from pedestrians and other drivers.
Contact a Port St Lucie Car Accident Lawyer
Have you been injured as a result of a negligent driver’s distracted driving? Your injuries can be life-changing, and you deserve justice for your suffering. You can get justice (and compensation) by filing a personal injury claim.
You will need the services of an accomplished lawyer to mount a fool-proof case and get the best compensation possible. Fortunately, Fetterman Law law firm is at your services. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help you get justice and compensation for your injuries.