We know that various dangers exist on the road, and it’s never easy to encounter a negligent driver. Unfortunately, negligent drivers are all around us. One of the most common forms of recklessness is distracted driving — which often keeps a driver’s focus off the road for numerous seconds. At high rates of speed, those seconds can quickly turn catastrophic.
It’s vital to recognize how drivers can cause significant injuries because of their oversights. Below, our team will break down the three different forms of distracted driving and signs you can look for to stay as safe as possible on the road.
The three forms of distracted driving are:
- Cognitive distractions
- Visual distractions
- Manual distractions
A cognitive distraction is any distraction that causes the driver to lose focus from the road. They no longer pay attention to the road. As a result, they may not see vehicles stopping ahead of them or traffic signals. Here are some of the common cognitive distractions a driver may encounter:
- Highway hypnosis
- Loud music and singing
- Responding to a text or talking on the phone
Many people overlook just how dangerous cognitive distractions are. Unfortunately, they can easily cause drivers to cause significant crashes when they focus on multiple things simultaneously. Turn the music down, put the phone down, avoid looking towards the side of the road, and make sure your passengers don’t cause any cognitive distractions.
Keep your eyes on the road. It’s one of the most common pieces of advice that drivers will receive when they’re first learning. Unfortunately, so many things can distract a driver and cause them to look away from what’s important when driving.
Visual distractions can include:
- Turning to look at passengers
- Turning to look at an incident on the side of the road
- Looking down at the phone or radio
- Looking in the back seat for an item
Whenever you’re driving, be sure to look ahead. Most drivers who succumb to visual distractions lose reaction time, and it’s easy for a severe crash to occur because of it.
You may see drivers all the time with one hand on the steering wheel. However, drivers should always be sure to use two hands when driving, and any action that forces the driver to take at least one hand off the steering wheel is a manual distraction. Of course, texting and driving is the most common example of this, but it’s not the only one. Manual distractions can also include:
- Eating and drinking
- Reaching for items in the back seat
- Turning the radio station
- Holding a passenger’s hand
When a driver has one hand off the steering wheel, it can become more difficult to regain control in a difficult situation.
One of the most dangerous things a driver can do is text while driving. This action combines all three forms of distractions, and it can take over 10 seconds to refocus on the road. At high speeds, it’s easy to see how so many distracted drivers cause the most catastrophic harm.
If you see a distracted driver, you may recognize the following signs:
- Swerving between lanes
- Erratic braking
- Speeding up and slowing down
At Crowe & Harris, LLP, we are aware that many drivers cause crashes because they put other drivers’ safety on the backburner. Our Massachusetts car accident attorneys go above and beyond to represent the injured and hold negligent parties accountable when it matters most. If you suffer harm, know that we’ll be your voice and guide, seeking the most favorable outcome possible.