Distracted driving is one of the more serious concerns on modern roads. With the increased prevalence of mobile phone use has come an epidemic of people texting, video chatting or even navigating the internet while driving.
Distracted drivers cause crashes that injure and kill people. They also cause millions of dollars in property damage. The presence of distracted drivers on the road puts everyone at risk, so there are certain things that anyone who drives should know.
Distraction isn’t just about phone use
Many people use the phrase distracted driving to refer to digital distractions specifically. However, distracted driving involves a broad range of activities beyond mobile phone use.
Anything that takes someone’s hands off the wheel, eyes off of the road or mind off of driving is a potential distraction.
Built-in devices aren’t necessarily safer
Many people mistakenly think that if a vehicle manufacturer included a screen in their vehicle, it is then safe to interact with that screen while they drive. Whether you need to use the touchscreen system to adjust the climate control for the vehicle or to enter a destination for your built-in GPS software, the screens you use to drive can be as dangerous as your phone.
Distraction doesn’t end as soon as you look up
Some people try to juggle typing a text with driving a vehicle. They glance up at the road and then down at their phones. However, this practice ignores the cognitive or mental distraction that can be as dangerous as visual distraction.
If you don’t fully focus on your environment, you won’t notice concerning traffic changes nearby. It takes several seconds for you to mentally refocus on traffic after using a mobile device.
Texting while driving is illegal
There’s a federal law that bans distracted driving for those driving commercial vehicles and a state hands-free law in Massachusetts that applies to all drivers.
You need to speak up if you suspect distraction caused the crash
It can sometimes be difficult to prove that someone had a phone in their hands when they caused a wreck. Informing the police of your suspicion at the scene of the crash could prompt an investigation that eventually proves they used their phone while driving.
When you understand what behaviors constitute distracted driving, you can make better and safer choices at the wheel. You will also be in a better position to hold another driver accountable for their distraction, especially if their behavior caused massive property damage or led to medical expenses for you. Learning more about some of the most common causes of car crashes will help you stand up for yourself if you ever experience one.