Do you recognize distracted driving when you see it? Like other people in New York, you can probably pick out drivers who are texting, calling or even watching videos on their phones. Distracted drivers are not always easy to pick out, though. This is because drivers have been struggling with dangerous behaviors since long before cell phones came around.
Any activity that forces a driver to take his or her attention off the road can cause distracted driving. This includes using a cell phone of course but can also be something as minor as looking at the radio while adjusting the volume. Even other passengers, children and pets — all of whom you may regularly travel with — can be distractions.
Types of distracted driving
It is not all about taking your eyes off of the road. Distractions can take shape in several different kinds of behaviors. These include:
- Visual — not looking at the road
- Manual — letting go of the wheel
- Cognitive — thinking about things unrelated to driving
Many everyday behaviors fall under the umbrella of distracted driving. You have probably seen your fair share of people eating behind the wheel or watched as a driver let go of the wheel to search for an item. These behaviors are not safe just because a large number of drivers engage in them.
Distractions and their risks
Some people may want to gloss over the dangers of distracted driving by pointing out that they have yet to cause an accident. But just because a dangerous driver has not caused a collision yet does not mean that it will not happen in the future. For example, something as small as reaching for something increases the risk of an accident by 800%.
Eating is not very safe either, and it makes the chance of causing an accident three times more likely. Additionally, about 87% of parents with small kids in the car encounter distractions, compared with 74% of adults without young kids. This is because parents tend to regularly glance at kids in the backseat while driving — both a visual and cognitive distraction.
Distracted drivers are everywhere
As you may now realize, identifying a distracted driver is not always easy. After all, it is obvious that a driver holding a cell phone is not paying attention to the road, but what about a driver who is lost in his or her own thoughts while still looking straight ahead? Because of this, it might be hard to determine exactly how many distracted driving accidents there are every year. Current estimates put distracted driving fatalities at 3,500 per year.
You understand that driving has its risks and always do your best to stay focused, but that did not stop the distracted driver who caused your accident. This can be extremely frustrating, especially since your injuries might have otherwise been avoidable. Now that you need help recovering from those injuries, it is a good idea to work closely with an attorney who understands just how dangerous distracted drivers can be.