A long commute can get boring quickly. If you drive the same route every day, you probably find your mind drifting or your attention wandering. To keep yourself occupied, you may turn on the radio or munch on a snack as you drive.
Like many other Georgia drivers, you may not even consider these activities to be forms of distracted driving, but a study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute showed that many activities can take a driver’s attention from the road.
Other kinds of distracted driving
Of course, by now most drivers understand the deadly danger of texting and driving, so it may be no surprise to you that the VTTI study showed texting to be the number one cause of distraction leading to accidents. In fact, it may terrify you to know that someone texting while driving a tractor-trailer or other heavy vehicle is over 23 times more likely to cause an accident than someone giving full attention to the traffic.
At this point, all 50 states have some form of ban on texting and driving, but that doesn’t seem to stop drivers from reading and sending messages, no matter how fast they are traveling. Moreover, while texting may be the most obvious form of distracted driving, others include:
- Dialing your cell phone
- Interacting with your children or others in the vehicle
- Adjusting controls
In fact, while many vehicles now offer state-of-the-art navigation systems, entertainment programs and maneuvering technology, even these may take your eyes, hands and mind off the task of safely operating your vehicle. Anything that prevents you from having your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel, such as holding a sandwich or grooming your hair, will make it more difficult for you to control your vehicle if conditions ahead of you change suddenly.
The tragic consequences
The VTTI study revealed that some form of distraction causes nearly 80 percent of crashes. Additionally, 65 percent of near-accidents resulted when a driver was fortunate enough to avoid an accident with a distracted driver.
Accidents caused by distracted drivers can be especially devastating because the negligent driver often isn’t aware of the danger until it is too late. This frequently means driving into an innocent victim’s vehicle at full speed without a moment to apply the brakes to lessen the impact. You may know first-hand that the results can be tragic, leaving people with life-changing injuries or the heartbreak of losing a loved one. Fortunately, there are legal options available to those who suffer from someone else’s negligence.