The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests that distraction plays a role in approximately 10% of all fatal car accidents and 17% of all car accidents involving injury. But what, exactly, is distracted driving and what can you do to help prevent more of these accidents from occurring?
Let’s start with the basics: distracted driving can easily be defined as doing anything while driving that takes your eyes and/or attention off of the road. At its most literal, thinking about work while driving is a form of distraction. Planning a meal in your head is a form of distraction. Trying to remember what you need to get done after laundry today is a form of distraction. In fact, this seemingly innocuous behavior of being “lost in thought” is the most common cause of distracted driving accidents, being listed as a factor in over 60% of these otherwise avoidable collisions.
In addition to being lost in thought, the leading causes of distraction-related injury and death can be attributed to:
- Cellphone use – texting and talking, even with hands-free electronics, is the second leading cause of distracted driving accidents
- Outside objects, events, or people – rubbernecking, reading billboards, looking at a pedestrian, and similar behaviors are the third leading cause of distracted driving accidents
- Passengers – turning to talk to other people or paying attention to passengers instead of the road is the fourth leading cause of driver distraction
Eating and drinking, adjusting climate controls, and reaching for a device account for 2% of distracted driving accidents each. Objects in motion inside of a vehicle, like pets, and cigarette lighting and smoking round out the leading causes of distracted driving accidents.
A look at any one of these things shows just how avoidable car accidents caused by distraction really are. Your own behaviors while driving may, however, show how very easy it is to engage in actions that place you, your passengers, and everyone else on the road at risk for serious or fatal injury.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident with a distracted driver, our Denver car accident attorneys can help. Call us today at 720.667.3030 for a free consultation.
Daydreaming or being lost in thought is the leading cause of distracted driving. Our minds are constantly hopping from subject to subject, and attaching to one thought to flesh it out is very useful under most circumstances. While driving though, nothing could be more dangerous.
Training yourself to not get lost in thought is no easy task, but it is one that can save your life. When you notice that you have become distracted while driving, make effort to bring your full attention back to the road. Recognize that you may need to do this multiple times during a single trip, but commit to doing it all the same. Being lost in thought causes six times more accidents than cellphone use. Make every effort to put an end to this by keeping your focus on the task of driving.
Only 12% of distracted driving accidents are related to cellphone use, yet this one behavior has received the lion’s share of attention. This may be due to the fact that cellphone use, both manual and voice controlled, is one of the easiest forms of distraction to avoid.
Don’t use your phone while driving. It’s that simple. Not to talk. Not to text. Not to “talk-to-text.” Not at all. Problem solved.
Yet as simple as it is to not use your phone while operating a vehicle, a study by the National Safety Council found that 61% of drivers admit to using their device to text while driving and 62% admit to keeping their cellphones close at hand in case they get a message or call. This despite the fact that 74% of people polled by the NHTSA claim to find talking on the phone while driving risky and 94% say the same thing about texting.
Ironically, it would seem most people believe these things are only distracting to others. A study published in the Journal of Transport and Health found that 90% of respondents felt they were capable of using a cellphone while driving.
Here’s the thing: they aren’t. Neither are you.
You Cannot Multitask
You cannot multitask. You likely think you can, everyone does, but you cannot. You may have heard people say they are good at multitasking. They are not. Study after study has shown this to be the case.
Regardless of these findings, people continue to believe they can multitask. We don’t want to believe that, if we are going to do something well, it has to be the literal only this we are doing. This applies equally to studying for a test and driving a vehicle. When people try to multitask while driving, they place everyone on the road, themselves included, at heightened risk for injury or death.
Have you been injured by a multitasker? Our Denver car accident lawyers are here to help you get justice.
What Can be Done About Distraction?
The only way for you to put an end to distracted driving is for you to put an end to driving while distracted. Here are some tips:
- Pay attention to the road
- Turn your phone off or put it in airplane mode
- Choose a radio station, CD, or playlist before you begin driving. Live with your choice or ask a passenger to switch things up
- Adjust mirrors, climate controls, and onboard electronics like GPS only while stopped. If you have to, pull over to make adjustments
- Refrain from eating and drinking on the road
- Apply makeup, shave, and groom in a bathroom
- Refrain from smoking in your car
In some cases, preventing dangerous behavior means having to get up a couple of minutes earlier. For example, eating and grooming at home may require a bit of additional time before you leave. In the end, isn’t getting up 10 minutes earlier and not getting in an accident better than getting a few extra minutes of sleep and then attempting to navigate the road without paying attention?
Studies have found that the simple act of sending a text while driving uses enough brain power and attention that it can be equated to driving blindfolded down a football field at 50 MPH. The same can be applied to many other forms of distracted driving. You wouldn’t drive blindfolded, right? Why drive distracted?
We can Help
Your actions can help prevent your causing or being involved in a car accident, but the actions of others may create unavoidable collisions. When you are involved in a car accident, the Denver personal injury lawyers at Leventhal Sar LLC can help. We have decades of combined experience helping victims of dangerous drivers get full and fair compensation. We are prepared to get to work on your case right away and help you get every penny you are due.
For a free consultation with our Denver car accident attorneys, call 720.667.3030 today. We welcome clients living in Denver, surrounding Metro communities, along the I-25 corridor, and throughout the Front Range.