It is estimated that about fifteen percent of all motor vehicle accidents are caused by distracted driving, and it is cited as a factor in about eight percent of all accidents that involve at least one death. This makes it one of the leading contributors to auto accidents of all types, and a serious hazard on the road. But what is distracted driving, and what makes it so dangerous?
Defining Distracted Driving
“Distracted driving” is a broad term for when people drive while their attention is being diverted by something other than what is happening on the road. These distractions may include activities that the driver is attempting to do while driving, or it may include distractions in the vehicle that take a driver’s eyes off the road (or their hands off the wheel). When people engage in this type of driving, they are substantially more likely to be involved in a crash, potentially injuring themselves or others.
Types of Distracted Driving
Often, distracted driving is conflated with texting and driving, but there are many activities that people engage in that can cause distractions while driving. Some common distracting activities include:
- Eating or drinking
- Trying to read a newspaper or book
- Changing the radio station
- Programming a GPS
- Making phone calls
- Checking texts, emails, or social media
- Picking objects off the floor
- Putting on makeup
- Brushing your hair or teeth
- Attending to children or rowdy passengers
The Dangers of Distracted Driving
Regardless of what is causing the distraction, the danger posed by distracted driving remains the same: you cannot properly react to what is happening on the road if your attention is elsewhere. This can mean, for example, that you do not see a car stopping in front of you in time to brake, or it can mean you do not notice a pedestrian running into the street in time to swerve out of the way. It can also make it harder to react to road hazards, like ice patches or potholes, that can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing the chances of an accident.
Avoiding Distracted Driving
To minimize your risk of getting into a distracted driving crash, always do your best to keep your attention firmly on driving. If you need to do something urgently while driving, pull off to the side of the road first. Also be on the lookout for other drivers who appear distracted, who may appear to drive erratically and not reacting to conditions on the road. However, if you do get into an crash with a distracted driver, contact our office to discuss your potential legal strategy.
Fox Law Firm, PLLC is a New York personal injury law practice serving clients throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. With more than three decades of experience the attorneys at Fox Law Firm have helped clients in personal injury cases obtain the compensation they deserve. For more information or to ask for a consultation, call our Riverhead office at 631-779-3400 or visit our contact page.