What Are the Most Common Driver Distractions?
Car accidents result in thousands of Americans being injured or losing there life each year. As the world around us becomes smarter, the number of distractions around us increase, leading to more road collisions. Congress recently completed the Second Strategic Highway Research Program Naturalistic Study, in which 3,500 drivers agreed to direct observation to determine the most common causes of highways crashes and traffic jams.
Distractions like putting on makeup are often cited as factors in crashes, but researchers noted that no crashes occurred from this activity during the course of the study. Surprisingly, one of the most common causes of accidents was driving while in a heightened emotional state (like angry or sad). Emotional driving is linked to an increase in crash risk by 980%.
Conversely, driving with children in the backseat seemed to have a protective effect on driving, which goes against the popular notion that children are a major source of distraction. In fact, people tend to drive safer with children in the car.
Texting or Using Mobile Devices
Texting and driving, as it turns out, is just as dangerous as you think. The co-author of the study, Mindy Buchanan-King, explains that distractions that cause drivers to look away the longest, like dialing a phone or texting, were some of the most dangerous distractions and increased the risk of collision. Her report noted that drivers are engaging in distracting activities more than 50% of the time, leading to two times the crash risk when compared to what the researchers deem “model driving.”
Other studies point to a more drastic picture: data from distraction.gov suggests that drivers are 23 times more likely to be in an accident while texting and driving. Yet 77% of young drivers say that they can text and drive safely. Widespread education programs about the dangers of texting and drivers could fix this discrepancy. If you or a loved one is injured as a result of being involved in a distracted driving related crash, contact our experienced Savannah auto accident lawyers for an initial consultation.
When you slug through the same commute each day, it is easy to become complacent. But letting your mind wander and daydreaming is a major contributing factor to crashes. After a while, driving becomes an automatic activity, like brushing our teeth or walking the dog. Driving in autopilot—which is hard to avoid—can mean drivers are less likely to see unexpected situations and are therefore not prepared for them.
Talking on the Phone
Texting while driving poses an obvious distraction, as you have to physically take your eyes off of the road to do it, but even talking on the phone has its dangers. Some studies indicate that talking on the phone while driving is the rough equivalent of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08. AAA says that talking on a cell phone quadruples your risk of being in a crash. Though the practice is legal in Georgia, some states have made the practice illegal, imposing fines for drivers caught using their cell phone while on the road.
Using a hands-free system can reduce your risk of accidents. If your car time is often when you make calls, consider investing in a hands-free Bluetooth or similar device.
I Have Been Injured by a Distracted Driver—What Are My Options?
Being involved in a car accident can be devastating. Hospital bills and lost wages from missed work take a financial, physical, and emotional toll. If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you are wondering what recourse there is for the parties responsible. Do not pay the price for someone else’s negligence. Call the Law Offices of Roden and Love for a free initial consultation with an experienced and successful injury attorney in Savannah, GA. We will review the specifics of your case and help you decide on the best course of action. Contact us to schedule one today.