Personal Injury Law Blog

Accidents from Distracted Driving

The dangers of accidents from distracted driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in the United States, contributing to numerous crashes, injuries, and fatalities each year. This dangerous behavior diverts a driver’s attention from the road, increasing the risk of accidents.

Despite widespread awareness campaigns and strict distracted driving laws, many drivers continue to engage in activities that impair their driving abilities. Knowing the risks and types of distractions can help drivers make better choices behind the wheel.

At Glotzer & Leib, we have experience addressing distracted driving-related fatal crashes here, including cell phone use. Learn more about driver distraction and motor vehicle crashes below. Then, contact us to schedule a free case consultation.

Understanding Distracted Driving

Distracted driving encompasses any activity that pulls a driver’s focus away from the road. These distractions can be visual, manual, or cognitive, each presenting unique dangers.

The complexity of modern life and the increase in in-car technologies contribute to the prevalence of distracted driving. Drivers must recognize these distractions and actively work to minimize them while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has highlighted the dangers of distracted driving. Many drivers may not realize the dangers of certain common behaviors until it is too late.

By recognizing what constitutes distracted driving and the potential consequences, drivers are better equipped to make safer choices and save lives. This knowledge is not just about avoiding fines or penalties—it’s about saving lives.

Definition and Types of Distractions

Definition and types of distractions

Distracted driving can be divided into three main categories: visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. No matter which category it falls into, the decision to drive distracted can lead to serious auto accidents.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions involve any activity that takes your eyes off the road. This can include looking at a navigation system, searching for items in the car, or observing events outside the vehicle.

When your eyes are not on the road, your ability to react to driving conditions or hazards is greatly compromised.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions happen when you take one or both hands off the steering wheel. Examples include eating, adjusting the radio, or handling a cell phone while driving. Cell phones remain a major problem behind the wheel. These distractions make it difficult to control the vehicle and respond effectively to emergencies.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when one’s mind is not focused on driving. This can be due to daydreaming, intense emotions, engaging in complex conversations with passengers, or using hands-free devices.

Even if one’s eyes are on the road and one’s hands are on the wheel, being mentally distracted can delay reaction times as much as or more than alcohol intoxication.

Common Causes of Distracted Driving

Many everyday activities can lead to distracted driving, but some are more prevalent. A few common causes of car accidents include:

Use of Mobile Phones and Devices

Using mobile phones or other electronic devices while driving is one of the most hazardous forms of distracted driving. It combines visual, manual, and cognitive distractions, increasing the risk of car crashes.

Texting While Driving

Texting while driving is extremely dangerous because it involves all three types of distractions: taking your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, and your concentration away from the task of driving.

Talking on the Phone

Even talking to friends on the phone, whether handheld or hands-free, can be a significant distraction. The conversation can distract your mental focus from driving, which might delay your reaction to road conditions.

Using GPS or Apps

While GPS and other navigation apps are useful, interacting with them while driving can divert your attention. Setting up your route before driving and using voice commands can help reduce this risk.

In-Car Activities

In-car activities

Activities inside the car often lead to distractions that can compromise driving safety.

Eating and Drinking

Eating or drinking while also texting and driving not only takes your hands off the wheel but also shifts your focus away from the road, increasing the likelihood of an accident.

Adjusting Controls

While driving, adjusting your car’s controls, like the radio, air conditioning, or mirrors, can be a big distraction. Try to set everything before you start your trip or pull over safely to make adjustments.

Interacting with Passengers

Interacting with passengers, especially with lively conversations or dealing with children, can greatly distract a driver. It’s important to keep interactions minimal and ensure everyone knows the importance of allowing the driver to concentrate.

External Distractions

Even elements outside the car can divert a driver’s attention and lead to dangerous situations.

Scenery and Billboards

Scenic views and attention-grabbing billboards can cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. While looking at a stunning view or an interesting advertisement is often tempting, remember that your primary focus must be driving safely.

Other Vehicles

Observing other vehicles, whether due to unusual loads, accidents, or their erratic movement, can also be a distraction. Maintaining awareness without fixating on these distractions is crucial, as this could lead to accidents.

Impact of Distracted Driving on Road Safety

Impact of distracted driving on road safety

Distracted driving poses several risks to road safety:

  • Increases accident risk. Being distracted, even for a few seconds, can cause critical errors that cause accidents.
  • Slows reaction time. Distractions delay reaction times, often preventing drivers from stopping or maneuvering in time to avoid hazards.
  • Distraction impairs decision-making. When distracted, a driver’s ability to make quick decisions in response to road conditions or the actions of other drivers is diminished.

Preventing Distracted Driving

The top way to avoid distracted driving is to remain focused and eliminate potential distractions before they become problematic.

Staying Focused on the Road

Always prioritize keeping your attention on driving. This means avoiding activities that could pull your focus away from the road and staying mentally engaged with your driving environment.

Using Hands-Free Devices

If you have to use your phone, opt for hands-free devices. However, remember that cell phone usage, even hands-free talking, can be a cognitive distraction, so keep phone use to a minimum.

Planning Ahead to Avoid Distractions

Organize your route, set your GPS, and make all necessary adjustments before you start driving. If you need to change your plans, pull over safely.

Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Vehicles equipped with ADAS technologies, such as lane-keeping assist and automatic braking, can help mitigate the effects of momentary distractions. These systems provide a safety net but are not substitutes for attentive driving.

What Should You Do After an Accident Involving Distracted Driving?

If you’re involved in an accident where distracted driving is suspected, take the following steps to protect yourself and strengthen your case:

  1. Check for injuries. Immediately check yourself and others for injuries. Call 911 if medical attention is needed.
  2. Report the accident. Call the police so they can file a report. Mention any observations you made about the other driver being distracted.
  3. Gather evidence. Take photos of the scene, the vehicles involved, and any relevant road conditions or signs.
  4. Exchange information. Get contact and insurance information from the other driver without discussing fault.
  5. Witness statements. Talk to witnesses and get their contact information. Their accounts may support your observation of distracted driving.
  6. Document everything. Keep a detailed record of everything related to the accident, including medical visits, repairs, and any communications with insurance companies.
  7. Consult a lawyer. Call a personal injury lawyer experienced in car accident cases. They can help you go through the legal process and work to ensure you receive fair compensation.

Proving Distracted Driving in Accident Claims

Showing that distracted driving caused a crash can be challenging but critical for your claim. It requires gathering concrete evidence and presenting a clear argument that the other driver’s lack of attention led to the accident.

A thorough investigation can uncover evidence of distracted driving, such as cell phone records, witness statements, or surveillance footage. Your lawyer will use this information to build a strong case for your claim.

They will also negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you are compensated fairly for your losses and injuries.

Let Glotzer & Leib Personal Injury Lawyers Fight for You

At Glotzer & Leib, we are aware of the devastating effects of car accidents caused by distracted driving.

Our team is committed to helping victims navigate the aftermath of such deadly accidents and securing the compensation they deserve. We advocate vigorously for our clients, challenging distracted drivers and their insurance companies.

Our expertise ensures that every aspect of your case is handled professionally. From collecting evidence to negotiating settlements, we strive to reduce your stress and maximize your recovery. Trust us to represent your best interests and to fight tirelessly on your behalf.

Connect With Our Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer for a Free Case Consultation

Connect with our Los Angeles car accident lawyer for a free case consultation

If you or a loved one has been affected by a distracted driving accident, it’s important to seek legal advice as soon as possible, Glotzer & Leib is here to help you.

Distracted driving accidents are serious, and there are far too many distracted driving fatalities each year. We can hold the distracted driver accountable.

Contact us today to schedule a free case consultation.

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