According to the National Highway Traffic Association, distracted driving is “any activity that diverts attention from driving.” And while most of us associate distracted driving with texting while driving, distractions can be a myriad of behaviors that take our attention away from the road.
The 3 Types of Driving Distractions
In fact, distracted driving isn’t only about taking your visual focus off the road in front of you. There are three types of driver distractions, according to the Centers for Disease Control. These are
- Visual distraction, or taking your eyes off the road in front of you
- Manual distraction, or taking your hands off the steering wheel of the car
- Cognitive distraction, or taking your mind off the task of driving
While maneuvering the cell phone is the most notorious and deadly distraction, checking off all three types of distractions at once, cell phone use is only one of the many distractions that drivers encounter each day.
The most common distraction, of course, is texting while driving. Sending or even merely reading a text is a serious and deadly distraction. For every five seconds you take to send or read a text at 55 mph, it is the equivalent of traveling the length of a football field. Putting that into context, a lot can happen when a driver isn’t focused on driving for this stretch of physical area. In the United States, individuals who text while driving are the cause of approximately 26 percent of crashes where a cell phone has been a factor.
Setting or Watching GPS
Most of us are dependent on our car’s or phone’s GPS system, from navigating across the country to just across town. Much like texting, GPS navigation relies on inputting information and constantly observing where we need to navigate. Having GPS as part of your dashboard information or mounting it where it can be easily seen helps, but any time your eyes are off the road, you have put yourself at risk for a collision.
Adjusting Radio or Other Dashboard Controls
Most of us adjust controls inside the car as second nature, from radio controls to adjusting the temperature. But again, anything that takes your visual or manual attention away from the task of driving can be deadly.
Applying Makeup or Other Grooming Moves
While we have all found ourselves running late and been forced to put some finishing touches on personal grooming, just like other distractions, these take our eyes and hands away from driving.
Paying Attention to Others in the Car
Whether you have passengers in the car or you are having to deal with children or pets, too many of these distractions lead to dangerous car accidents. If you find yourself having to take your eyes off the road for a child or loose pet, it’s best to pull over and deal with the situation safely.
How many of us drive on mental autopilot and can’t remember the last few minutes of driving? Daydreaming or just “zoning out” is one of the most common causes of traffic accidents today. Research with eye-tracking devices has shown that even when a driver’s eyes detect an object, a daydreaming driver doesn’t necessarily consciously “see” the object if their attention is cognitively elsewhere.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Involved in an Accident With a Distracted Driver in FL?
Unfortunately, distracted drivers cause serious accidents and equally serious injuries and fatalities.
If you have been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, it is critical to get immediate medical attention. After an accident, someone should contact the police and call 911 for an emergency vehicle if necessary. Information should be collected from any parties who were involved in the accident and any witnesses who were present as well. Make detailed notes of the driver’s behavior that may have indicated distraction such as swerving, speeding, or if you saw the driver use their phone while driving.
Holding At-Fault Drivers Accountable in Florida
In some cases, despite our Florida no-fault laws, an injured individual can hold the at-fault party accountable and seek compensation for damages. Distracted driving is considered driver negligence and if you have been seriously injured in an accident involving a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation from that driver.
If you have sustained serious injuries or other damages in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you should get the assistance of an experienced Boca Raton personal injury attorney to ensure that the at-fault driver is held responsible. At Ged Lawyers, LLP, we obtain the police report and conduct a thorough investigation of the accident so the responsible party is held accountable. Call us at (561) 562-4170 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.