The number of car accidents in the US, as well as the rest of the world, tends to increase every year.
While a large proportion of such accidents are caused due to negligence of the drivers or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, another lesser-known cause claims thousands of lives every year. And that is distracted driving.
Distracted driving causes numerous accidents yearly, leading to injuries or even death. If you or someone you know has been injured in an accident caused due to the fault of a distracted driver, you might be eligible for compensation for the trauma you faced.
Getting in touch with a capable distracted driving accident lawyer can help you understand the steps to take. And if you are someone who goes to work every day, it is a good idea to be aware of distracted driving and its dangers.
Doing so will enable you to move safely while avoiding the risk of accidents.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving, simply speaking, refers to all activities that may divert your attention from the road while you are driving.
It is among the significant causes of car accidents in the US, mainly because people don't understand the severe repercussions of moving their focus from the road even for a few seconds until it's too late.
There are several distractions on the road and inside your driving car. Therefore, drivers must be vigilant to avoid getting into an accident while distracted.
Using your phone is the most common cause of distraction, but it isn't the only one. Simple daily things can become a risk for you and others on the road if you do not pay enough attention.
Some of these include:
- Applying or touching up on makeup while driving
- Having a meal while on the road
- Driving with your pets inside the car
- Talking to another passenger
- Searching for something while driving
- Receiving a call
- Texting while on the road
- Driving with one hand
- Looking at the outside scenery
- Daydreaming while driving
All these activities might seem like little, but losing focus on the road in front due to these or other reasons while driving can lead to unwanted disasters.
Most Common Types Of Distractions
Multiple types of distractions may cause you to lose focus on the road. The most common of them include the following:
- Manual distractions
- Auditory distractions
- Visual distractions
- Cognitive distraction
1. Manual Distractions
Manual or physical distractions refer to those things that cause you to take one or both hands off the wheel for a few seconds.
Common distractions include smoking, eating or drinking something, helping your child fasten their seatbelts properly, picking up an object you dropped, rummaging through your bag to locate a specific item, and so on.
This distraction lowers your control over your vehicle, making it difficult to react quickly if a sudden situation arises.
You can drive well enough even with one hand on the sterling. But the truth is that you will have different control over the steering wheel while going with both hands.
Say you suddenly notice a stray animal or a pedestrian just in front of your car; you may not be able to swerve the car in a different direction in time if you have one of your hands occupied with something else. And that may lead to a severe mishap.
2. Auditory Distractions
Auditory distractions hinder your ability to hear what's going on outside. You may be listening to a podcast or your favorite song, talking on the phone, speaking with another passenger in the car, etc. Or perhaps you hear your phone ringing or have children shouting from the backseats.
Whatever the cause, these sounds can shift your focus from the road. And since many people like to listen to music while driving, this distraction is much more challenging to avoid.
Therefore, it's essential to educate yourself on the harmful effects of these distractions on your safety and try to overcome them.
Small steps like not using your phone while driving, lowering the music volume inside the car, etc., can help avoid traffic accidents due to distracted driving.
3. Visual Distractions
Visual distractions are things that grab your attention while you are driving. These are among the most common causes of distracted driving accidents, as visual distractions result in you taking your eyes off the road.
Looking down to view or reply to an incoming text, a sign or billboard on the street, spotting a familiar person or car, looking into the mirror, and so on - all these activities can cause your eyes to wander off the road.
And those few seconds of negligence can put you and others on the street at significant risk. This is because the conditions on the road can change in seconds.
A car may be swerving in on your lane, or a pedestrian might be crossing the street - unless you pay attention, it may lead to an unfortunate traffic crash.
4. Cognitive Distraction
Cognitive distractions are those that cause your mind to drift away while you are driving. So even if you are looking at the road in front, your mind isn't registering the scenes in front of you.
For example, even if you use a hands-free device to talk while driving, it may cause you to lose focus on what's happening on the road.
According to the National Safety Council, drivers speaking on the phone can miss up to 50% of what's happening around them, even if they use a hands-free device.
But there are other cognitive distractions faced by drivers. If other thoughts occupy your mind or you tend to daydream, you won't be able to focus entirely on the road.
The same is true if you are going through any emotional upheavals. Anger, pain, stress, sadness - all these emotions can hinder your ability to drive safely. So if you are feeling emotional, it's best to avoid driving.
The Dangers Of Distracted Driving
According to a 2020 report by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accounted for nearly 8% of fatal crashes, 14% of crashes that led to injuries, and 13% of all motor vehicle hits reported to the police in 2020.
Moreover, it was reported that the most significant proportion of distracted drivers was 15 to 20 years old. However, distracted driving is prevalent among drivers of all age groups.
According to statistics provided by the NHTSA, distracted driving caused around 3142 fatalities in 2020. And these figures make it clear how dangerous a few seconds of distraction can be.
Distracted driving can lead to traffic collisions, including but not limited to head-on crashes, clashes with a pedestrian, rear-end crashes, and angle collisions. Therefore, it's not only essential to take steps to avoid being distracted while on the road but also to look out for signs of distracted driving around you.
Getting into a traffic crash due to distracted driving can lead to severe consequences. Broken bones, fractures, concussions, and burns are common injuries sustained by accident victims.
In severe cases, such accidents may also lead to brain and spinal cord injuries, skull fractures, internal injuries, and sometimes even be fatal.
In such cases, if the victims weren't at fault for the crash, they could file a lawsuit against the driver with the assistance of a distracted driving accident lawyer. These professionals can help accident victims get compensation from the party at fault.
What To Do If You Get Into A Distracted Driving Accident?
Accidents due to distracted driving are prevalent. Therefore, you must know precisely what to do if facing an unfortunate incident. To help you, we have mentioned the steps you should take if you get into a distracted driving accident.
1. Call For Emergency Services
The first step after getting into any accident is to check for injuries. If you were driving a car with other passengers inside, check if they are okay too.
Next, you should call emergency services by dialing 911. If you have sustained severe injuries and cannot do so, you can request anyone on the scene. Your primary focus should be on receiving medical attention for your injuries.
In case the police reach there, first, you can file a report on the spot, mentioning the details of the accident and the injuries you have sustained.
2. Try To Document The Scene As Much As Possible
If you aren't hurt too badly and can move around, documenting the accident scene is a good idea.
Take clear photographs and videos of the area, including every detail you can.
Make sure to capture the damage caused to all vehicles involved, including the one that caused the accident.
The photographs should clearly show the conditions of the road, the weather, and any other details that may have played a part in the accident.
If you have any visible injuries, record those too. All these photographs and videos will be solid evidence if you file a lawsuit later.
3. Collect The Contact Information Of Witnesses
Along with the visual evidence, collect the names and contact information of all witnesses willing to testify about what they saw. Witness testimonies can help make your case more robust if it goes to court.
4. Get In Touch With A Capable Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer
The most crucial step is to contact an experienced distracted driving accident lawyer. These professionals can help educate you on your legal options and guide you through filing a lawsuit.
If you have been hurt in the accident and want the other party to pay compensation for the damages caused, all you need is a capably distracted driving accident lawyer.
How Can A Distracted Driving Accident Lawyer Help?
A distracted driving accident lawyer can help you determine the best course of action, depending on the details of your case. Here is how these professionals can help.
They Can Handle The Necessary Paperwork On Your Behalf
Whether you want to file a personal injury lawsuit against the distracted driver or an insurance claim with their insurance company, a distracted driving accident lawyer can easily handle all the necessary paperwork.
You might be unable to take care of the legal formalities after suffering from injuries and trauma due to the accident. The lawyer can take over all these responsibilities so that you can focus on your recovery.
They Can Help You Collect And Compile The Evidence
If you could not document the scene due to your injuries, a capable lawyer could also help you by collecting the necessary evidence. They have the expertise to track down witnesses on the scene and record their names and contact information.
And in case you were able to photograph the scene, your lawyer can help you compile the critical pieces of evidence to strengthen your case.
They Can Assist You In Negotiating With The Other Party
More often than not, such cases are resolved through private negotiations instead of going to court. And having a capable lawyer by your side can ensure you get the proper compensation.
Being experts in handling settlements, these professionals can help negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, getting you the compensation you deserve.
With distracted driving accidents increasing yearly, everyone must be aware of such activities' dangers.
And if you are unfortunate enough to be a victim of any such accident, make sure to contact an efficient distracted driving accident lawyer without fail. They will be able to guide you on the legal proceedings that you can undertake.