Distracted driving has existed for a very long time, yes, even before the invention of the cell phone. There are numerous ways a driver can become distracted, but it seems to be happening more frequently since the advent of personal, handheld devices. Ultimately, any distraction to someone who is operating a moving vehicle can lead to disastrous and sometimes deadly circumstances.
There are numerous ways a person can become distracted while driving.
Any distraction to a driver can be dangerous to themselves, other drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians or anyone who happens to be sharing the street. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, (NHTSA) in 2018, distracted driving claimed the lives of 2,841 people in the United States. Among those, 1,730 were drivers, 650 were passengers, 400 were pedestrians and 77 were bicyclists.
The most common types of distractions that lead to automobile accidents are:
- Writing, sending or reading text messages.
- Talking on a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Talking to passengers inside the vehicle
- Reading or entering information onto GPS devices
- Adjusting climate or stereo controls of the automobile
- Putting on make-up or shaving while driving
Yes, please put the book down while you’re driving, okay? All of these distractions create incredibly dangerous situations, but they can be prevented.
The CDC categorizes the types of distraction into three categories:
- Visual: the distraction requires you to take your eyes off the road.
- Manual: taking your hands off the wheel, feet away from pedals.
- Cognitive: taking your mind of the action of driving.
Texting while driving is considered to be the most dangerous form of distraction.
The CDC considers texting while driving to be the most dangerous type of distracted driving, because it incorporates all three types of distraction. You visually look at your phone, while one or more hands is off the wheel to write and send your text, and you’re likely thinking more about the text, than the fact you’re driving. If you were going 55 miles per hour, you would have traveled the entire length of a football field in the short time you’ve been looking at your phone to read an average text message (5 seconds).
The fact that some people cannot wait until they come to a stop to read, write or send a text message has brought distracted driving to a level of crisis that would have been unimaginable just a few short decades ago. Drivers should be on high alert every time they get behind the wheel, because a fellow driver may be endangering the lives of all others around them, without your awareness.
Operating a motor vehicle safely becomes compromised once anyone is engaged in an activity that takes their focus off of the road ahead. It is estimated that the use of a cell phone or other type of digital device while driving increases the likelihood of being involved in an automobile accident by three hundred percent. This is why many states have begun passage of hands-free laws.
What types of injuries can be caused by distracted driving.
Distracted driving on the road can cause a variety of injuries when an accident occurs. Some of these injuries can lead to years, or even decades of pain and suffering. The types of injuries incurred can vary greatly, depending on the variables that contributed to the accident. Some of the most common injury types are as follows:
- Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI
- Broken bones
- Herniated discs
- Internal bleeding or organ damage
- Knee trauma
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
In addition to PTSD, there are a number of psychological injuries that can occur for everyone involved in the automobile accident. Many people will experience flashbacks and other types of mental distress. These are also very real injuries that are just as important to address as any physical injury. Obviously, certain physical injuries should be treated first, as priority number one. Just don’t put-off or try to forget about any mental health issues that also may arise from being involved in the automobile accident.
How can I minimize my risk when riding in, or operating a moving vehicle?
Your safety on the road should be your top priority every time you enter a motor vehicle. Even though you can’t control the other drivers on the road, there are ways to help prevent, or at least minimize car accident injuries.
First and most obvious, is to always wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts really do save lives and they can keep you from being thrown around in an accident, which can not only save your life, but also greatly help reduce the severity of any injuries that may be sustained from the wreck.
Second, always obey the posted speed limits and any other rules and regulations of the road. Speeding vehicles that get involved in crashes always make the incident much more severe than they would have been if the driver had been obeying the speed limit.
Third, make sure your car is in good working order. This can help reduce the chance for any injuries in a car crash that could be caused by equipment failure. Keeping up on your brake pads, tires and other crucial systems can help you stop sooner in the event of an emergency, which ultimately puts safety first.
Fourth, be aware of road conditions before you start to drive. If the roads are slick, icy or covered in snow, it is good to slow down and focus all of your attention on driving. With the limited visibility that comes with weather patterns, this is not a good time to take your eyes off the road.
Finally, put away all distractions before you get behind the wheel and put the car or truck into drive. We cannot stress this enough. Just focusing on the road ahead while you’re driving can be one of the most important things you can do to help prevent another accident. This helps protect yourself, your family and your entire community at large.
If there is one thing the coronavirus pandemic has taught us, is that we’re all in this together. Please do your part to help keep our communities safe.
What should I do if I’ve been involved in an automobile accident?
First and foremost, seek any medical attention you might need immediately. While some of your injuries may seem minor, the longer you wait to treat injuries can actually make them much, much worse. Sometimes an injury might take time to show up. You might be seriously hurt and not even realize it.
Develop a care plan with your doctor. The physician will help you to document your injuries and formulate a treatment plan to heal as quickly as possible. Medical attention also helps document your injuries so a lawyer can help build a case for a fair settlement for your medical needs if necessary.
If you have been injured in an automobile accident to no fault of your own, we are here to help you. Caldwell Law Group’s skilled and dedicated injury attorneys will ensure that you are fairly compensated for your devastating losses. We can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. We can even schedule a free consultation over the phone and review your case, for your own peace of mind.