Could You Cause a Distracted Driving Accident?
Just like with drowsy driving, many people underestimate how big of a problem distracted driving is. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused over 3,000 deaths in 2017 alone. Distracted driving is more than just texting and driving. The NHTSA defines it as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment, or navigation system.” Any non-driving activity you do behind the wheel contributes to distracted driving. In this blog post, we will give a brief overview of some of the most common causes of distracted driving accidents.
Texting and Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies three main types of distraction: visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel), and cognitive (taking your mind off of driving). Texting while driving combines all three types of distraction at once, making it incredibly dangerous. Taking your eyes off the road for five seconds to compose a text while driving 55 mph is equivalent to driving down the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed. No text message is more important than your life. To eliminate the temptation, you may want to consider safely stowing your cell phone away from reach before you begin driving.
Lack of Focus
Believe it or not, general distraction is a leading factor in distracted driving accidents. When you are not 100 percent focused on the road, you may find yourself “lost in thought” while behind the wheel. Some people may have a hard time seeing the harm in this, especially if they are driving in areas already familiar to them. However, complacency is the number one cause of all distracted driving accidents. Failing to stay vigilant on the road makes it easy for potential obstacles and obstructions to go by unseen. If you find yourself daydreaming behind the wheel, you may want to take a moment to pull over until you can focus.
Other Occupants and Objects
It can be easy to be distracted by other occupants in your vehicle while driving. You may be engaged in a lively discussion, for example, or you may have children or pets moving around in the backseat. Make sure that everything (and everyone) is properly secured before you start driving, and save your heated conversations for when you are no longer on the road. Similarly, make sure you have adjusted all your controls (such as volume or air conditioning) before you begin moving.
Seeking Legal Help
Were you or a loved one recently injured in a car accident? We at Gattuso & Ciottoli, PLLC may be able to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced New York car accident attorneys. We draw on over 50 years of combined legal experience to serve personal injury victims as best we can. We proudly serve the Central New York area, including Syracuse, Syracuse, Watertown, Binghamton, North Syracuse, Camillus, Liverpool, Cortland, and Auburn.