Many modern jobs require that people multitask or manage multiple different physical and mental tasks at the same time. Given that people feel comfortable multitasking at work, they might also think that they can multitask at the wheel.
Unfortunately, according to information gathered by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), a distraction lasting more than 2 seconds can be all it takes to increase the risk of a crash. Additionally, many government studies as well as medical authorities such as the “American Journal of Public Health” and the “New England Journal of Medicine” have concluded that collisions due to distracted driving are on the increase and that this trend presents a growing public health hazard.
Although mobile phones are commonly blamed for distracted driving, distraction can also come from the control panel of a vehicle, a Bluetooth conversation, eating and drinking at the wheel or even other people in the vehicle. Any form of distraction could cause several issues that increase risk of a collision.
Distraction keeps you from noticing and quickly responding to changes
Many people think that if they just look down at their phone for a few seconds, they won’t have any real issues as a result. However, they could come around a curve to find that traffic has stopped due to a collision up ahead. That driver may not be able to stop in time because they weren’t watching the road.
Drivers doing something else often drift on the road
The lack of attention that distraction causes is dangerous on its own, but it often combines with drifting to create truly dangerous situations. Drivers may take their hands off the wheel to eat, change the radio station or touch their phone, leading to the vehicle slowly moving to either side. Even if the driver maintains one hand on the wheel, they may not adequately adjust for shifts in the road, meaning that they could swerve or drift out of their lane, drastically increasing the potential for a collision.
Anyone who gets hurt by a distracted driver should consider their legal rights to hold that driver accountable for the injuries and property damage their irresponsible actions caused.
Most people haven’t been in drivers-ed for quite a few years. While many motorists know the basic rules of the road, they may have developed some habits along the way. Unfortunately, any driving negligence could end up seriously hurting the driver or others.
The most common bad driving habits
While New York adopted new distracted driving laws back in 2017, that doesn’t mean every motorist will abide by the rules. Here are some of the things some drivers do that can put themselves and others at serious risk:
- Driving with headphones on: Listening to music without headphones can be distracting enough. However, it can be even more dangerous when wearing actual headphones. This can be hazardous because the motorists may not be able to hear what’s going on around them.
- Changing lanes without signaling: Doing so is especially risky in heavy traffic. It can still be dangerous even if traffic is light or the driver is in a familiar area. According to a recent study, more than half of all car wrecks occur within a five-mile radius of the home.
- Going above the speed limit: When people are driving well above the speed limit, they can put themselves and others in grave danger. The faster people drive, the worse they typically are at reacting in time to avoid a crash.
- Driving without lights on: Especially when driving in the dark, other motorists need to know where one is going. If drivers don’t turn their headlights on, even if it’s not that dark out, it can cause problems.
- Driving without a seatbelt: Seatbelts have saved countless lives, but some drivers still don’t do it. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 27 million Americans still don’t fasten their seatbelts while driving. It doesn’t matter if someone is driving for three minutes or three hours; seatbelts often save lives.
Motorists should look out for one another
As drivers become more comfortable, some may forget some essential road safety rules. While this can be quite common, motorists need to evaluate their habits and change them for the better.
Distracted driving is a term that most New York residents have heard of. It refers to people attempting to multitask with driving and engaging in any number of activities, including eating, texting, talking on a cellphone or to a passenger, messing with electronic equipment or reading a map.
Distracted driving is dangerous and can lead to serious injury accidents. Of all of the distracting activities, the act of texting while driving is the most alarming, and it is against the law in most states. A person who is sending text messages must devote cognitive, manual and visual attention to it, taking all of those forms of attention away from the road. A person who looks down at a cellphone while driving has their eyes off of the road for an average of five seconds, enough time for the vehicle to travel the distance of a football field at 55 m.p.h.
At any moment of the day, around 660,000 U.S. people are using their cellphones while they are driving, placing both themselves and others at risk. The type of attention required by texting has been shown to increase the likelihood of accident involvement by three times. In a survey, 25 percent of teens admit to answering at least one message while they are driving, while 20 percent of both teens and adults admit to engaging in ongoing text conversations while they are driving.
Occasionally, the news will feature stories about a person text messaging while driving, then causing a serious accident. People still continue to drive and text, however. Those who are seriously injured in a car accident due to a distracted driver may be able to hold the driver civilly liable through a personal injury lawsuit.