Driving a vehicle requires coordination, reflexes, and 100 percent of your focus and attention. However, according to an NHTSA study, driver distraction is responsible for over 80 percent of all vehicle crashes. In fact, distracted drivers cause more accidents each year than drunk drivers, defective car parts, and slippery roads combined. There are many distractions that can hinder a person’s driving, but the NHTSA study cites the following five distractions as being the most prevalent and dangerous for today’s drivers.
1. Cell Phone Use
Talking and/or texting on a cell phone while driving results in thousands of auto accidents every year. Despite recent restrictions in many states making it illegal to text while driving, it remains a common problem on roads everywhere. A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report discovered that receiving or sending a text distracts the average driver for 4.6 seconds, which is more than enough time for an accident to occur. Furthermore, talking while driving is nearly equally as dangerous, even for drivers who use Bluetooth headsets.
2. Reaching for Something Inside the Car
Regardless of whether you’re reaching to adjust the radio, grab a drink, or pick up a snack while driving, this simple act distracts both your mind and eyes from the road. Driving requires all five senses and your full attention. However, far too often, drivers look down to reach for something only to look up and find themselves heading off the road or into another vehicle.
3. External Distractions
Not only are there distractions inside the car, but there are plenty of distractions outside as well. Animal running across the road can cause you to become distracted, swerve without looking, and hit an oncoming vehicle. When driving, make sure to pay attention to pedestrians and other drivers while blocking out shops, billboards, and all kinds of interesting or unexpected distractions that may be going on around you.
While maps and GPS systems are certainly helpful for drivers, they require you to take your eyes away from the road in front of you, increasing the likelihood of being in an accident. It’s best to use a GPS that gives vocal directions or have a passenger help you find your way.
5. Applying Makeup
It takes a considerable amount of time to get ready for work in the morning, so it’s not surprising that many people finish in the car on their way to work. However, grooming and putting on makeup is one of the leading causes of accidents on the road every year. Although it is important to look good, it is more important to look at the road to avoid an accident.
All of these distractions greatly increase the likelihood of being involved in a serious accident. Driver distractions divert your attention away from the road, reducing your awareness of what’s going on in around you. All too often, this results in crashes or the need for corrective actions by yourself or other drivers. When driving, you should limit these distractions, keep your hands on the wheel, and your eyes on the road if you want to safely arrive at your destination.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a distracted driver, you need to contact a personal injury attorney. The Fernandez Firm is here to help you recover from your accident and receive compensation for any damages that you may have suffered. Call us today at (800) 222-8163 so we can begin helping you through this difficult situation.