Millions of Americans get into cars every single day and drive to work, school, or wherever they need to go. Driving is something that many of us learned when we were young and can even feel like second nature at times.
However, driving requires constant vigilance, awareness, and alertness, because not paying attention — even for a few seconds — could mean the difference between life and death.
What is distracted driving?
A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nine people are killed in distracted driving accidents every day in the United States. Distracted driving is incredibly common and takes many different forms. Distracted driving can be:
- Visual – not watching the road carefully
- Manual – not holding or touching the wheel
- Cognitive – not thinking about driving
Any activity that causes you to do one or more things on this list will result in distracted driving.
Distractions to Avoid
While there are endless ways that someone might get distracted while driving, there are a few major ones drivers should try to avoid.
1. Texting While Driving
The advent of cell phones has made communicating simpler and easier than ever. Sending a text message to a friend or reading their response takes only a matter of seconds.
Texting may seem so easy that you are tempted to glance down at your phone or type a response while driving. This is a unilaterally terrible idea, as the risks of texting while driving far outweigh the benefits.
Reading a text or typing a message may seem like they don’t require a lot of attention; however, they completely divert your attention from the road for critical seconds at a time. Those seconds can represent hundreds of feet of road travel.
Even if driving at a moderate speed, a few seconds with your eyes away from the road can keep you from noticing obstructions in the road or other vehicles. If a car in front of you makes a sudden stop, you will not have time to react if you are not paying close attention.
Many state and local governments have made efforts to end texting while driving. It is a crime in every state to text and drive, and you can be ticketed for it. Someone who causes an accident because they were texting and driving may be found criminally responsible, in addition to being liable for paying any damages suffered by the victim(s).
2. Eating While Driving
Many of us have memories of long road trips and fast food meals in the car, but eating while driving can be more than a messy decision.
While it may seem like a simple enough task, eating while driving is a major cause of distracted driving. Besides taking your attention and eyes off the road, eating while driving causes you to remove your hands from the wheel.
Additionally, those who eat and drive risk spilling hot food or drink on themselves, distracting them even further and placing themselves and others at risk. Always stop and eat because the small amount of time you’d save is not worth the risk.
3. Driving Drowsy
Driving at night increases several risk factors and requires even more alertness than driving during the day. With limited visibility, drivers must be prepared to react to anything entering their field of vision. This becomes increasingly difficult the more sleepy the driver is.
Falling asleep while driving causes your mind, eyes, and hands to disengage from driving. Pull over and take a nap before continuing if you feel even a little tired and cannot seem to wake up. Driving while sleepy is never worth the risk.
Distracted Driving Accident Victims in Los Angeles
You should always be present and alert while driving, as drivers are responsible for keeping other drivers and pedestrians safe. Drivers who don’t stay alert and injure other drivers or pedestrians as a result may be held financially responsible for any damages suffered by victims.
If you or someone you know in the Los Angeles area has been the victim of a personal injury resulting from a distracted driver-related car accident, call the personal injury attorneys at Saeedian Law Group.