What are the Main Distractions in Distracted Driving Accidents?

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Distracted Driving Accidents

We all know that distracted driving is dangerous. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds at highway speeds can mean you drive the length of a football field without seeing what is happening.

Too many drivers today allow themselves to be distracted. And when they do, they are more likely to cause a car accident in which you or a loved one suffer personal injury. Not only is this frustrating to know that your accident and injuries could have been avoided, but also it means you must face a lengthy and costly recovery process.

Types of Distraction

Anything that takes a driver’s eyes off the road is a potentially deadly decision. There are three main types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual. Visual distractions occur when a driver takes their eyes off the road. This frequently happens when a driver is texting, looking in the mirror at children, or using a navigation system. Visual distractions can be extremely deadly because they do not allow the driver to react in time to avoid a collision. But visual distractions are also preventable. It just takes diligence for the driver to make sure they keep their eyes on the road.

Manual. Manual distractions happen when a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel. Many times, manual distractions go hand in hand with visual distractions because the driver is responding to a text message or trying to place a phone call. This type of distraction can also be extremely deadly, as any necessary reaction from the driver will be delayed because their hands are not on the wheel.

Cognitive. Cognitive distractions are much less visible distractions but can be just as, if not more, problematic. A cognitive distraction occurs when a driver takes their mind off driving. This can happen when they are texting, talking on the phone, or even just thinking about their workday. What makes cognitive distractions so dangerous is that many people do not think that having their mind wander or focus on something else affects their ability to drive. They are wrong, and statistics show that a driver who texts at a stoplight is still involved in the conversation for up to half a minute after putting their phone down.

Putting it All Together

Each of the three above types of distractions do not live in a vacuum. In fact, these distractions often overlap, causing deadly situations on the road. For example, someone may be texting while driving and using both hands to text. This takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel, and brain off the important task at hand.

Texting. Without fail, one of the most common causes of distracted driving is texting. People of all ages are offenders of texting while driving. Even if you just do it once, for just a few seconds, it can negatively affect your life forever. Some estimates suggest that over one-quarter of all car accidents are the result of one driver texting while driving.

Phone conversations. Talking on the phone is another common distracted driving problem. People often use their phones behind the wheel, even when some states have outlawed the practice. Looking down to see who is calling and having your mind deep in thought can be extremely distracting and can result in accidents.

Navigation systems. Whether using your car’s navigation system, your phone, or an aftermarket GPS, fiddling with the directions and where you are going can be distracting. Just like texting, changing your route and looking to see where you are going can take your eyes, hands, and mind off the road.

Radio. Although many newer model cars today have controls on the steering wheel for the radio, that can still be a distraction to a driver. Changing the station, looking for the station you want, and trying to find the right song for your trip can all take your mind off the task of driving.

Applying makeup. Many people, especially in the morning commute, will take time in the car to apply makeup. This can have deadly consequences because the driver is taking their focus off the road and placing it on applying makeup.

Talking to passengers. When you have guests in the car, it is only natural that you will converse with them. Turning to look at a passenger who is talking to you or to make a point to someone can feel like normal behavior for a conversation. But this act can have deadly consequences if you take your eyes off the road. Heated conversations can also distract you, even if you never take your eyes off the road. If your mind is so focused on the conversation at hand, you will not be giving your full attention to driving.

Looking around. When taking road trips, it can be fun to look around and see other parts of the country. Even when you are on your regular commute, you may see someone you know or look at an accident. Either of these situations can take your eyes off the road, resulting in accidents. You have probably seen fender-benders occur around bigger and more serious car accidents. That is a direct result of one driver paying more attention to the other accident than to driving their own car.

Dealing with children. It is no secret that children can be challenging passengers in the car. Your child always wants your attention and may stop at nothing to get it. They want to see your face and do not understand why you will not turn around and look at them or let them show you what they are doing. They may yell and scream to get your attention, and they may complain that they need something from you. When you have more than one child, it is not uncommon for them to get on each other’s nerves or even fight in the back seat. All of this can be extremely distracting, taking your eyes and mind off the road.

Zoning out. When you make the same road trip day after day, it is not uncommon for you to zone out. You may even leave your office at the end of the day and the next thing you know, you are pulling into your driveway with no recollection of how you got there. Driving in this way, sometimes described as driving on autopilot, can be scary when you get to your destination and realize what happened. If it happens frequently, it could be a dangerous situation in which you need to actively pay attention to the road and ensure you do not zone out.

Distracted Driving Consequences

Distracted driving is a serious problem, and some researchers even go so far as to call it an epidemic because it causes so much death and destruction. And mobile phones play a large part in taking a driver’s attention away from the road.

When someone else is distracted while driving and they cause an accident, you may suffer life-threatening injuries. The most common injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Whiplash
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Burns
  • Scars

After you suffer injuries in a car accident, you may not know what comes next for you. Especially if your injuries are serious, you may have questions about how you move forward with your life and how you get the compensation you need to get better. Seeking the advice and guidance of a legal professional could be the solution you need.

Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help You Get Back on Your Feet

Car accidents happen for many reasons. Sometimes, accidents are truly accidents. Other times, someone else acted negligently by allowing their focus to shift from driving and onto some other activity. When that happens and you get injured, not only is it frustrating, but also it can put you in a tough financial position. To help you overcome these challenges, speak with the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will fight hard for you to get the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are conveniently located in BaltimoreColumbiaGlen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, where we represent victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.