Eating while on the road, reading text messages, and talking on a cellphone are just but some of the causes of distracted driving. Diverted attention while behind the wheel is extremely risky, especially when driving on the congested roads and highways of big cities.
Chances of causing a serious accident are particularly high when driving while distracted. Besides, the consequences go beyond the damage to vehicles. Distracted driving can cause serious injuries or even turn fatal.
Talking to a car accident attorney can help you learn what distracted driving is all about and how to avert potential tragedy or lawsuits associated with this traffic offense.
So, what is distracted driving?
Distracted driving simply refers to operating a vehicle without focusing fully on the road, thereby risking the safety of other road users. It is the act of driving a vehicle while engaging in other non-related activities like fiddling with the radio, texting, or talking to other people in the car, resulting in minimal attention to the highway and surrounding traffic.
What are the types of distracted driving?
According to the NHTSA, distracted driving accounts for nearly 30 percent of all reported motor accidents annually. This results in thousands of road users getting injured or losing their lives.
Types of distracted driving include:
- Visual distraction
Visual distraction occurs when the driver is not focusing on the road ahead. Instead, the driver’s eyes are on to something else like their phone, or a pedestrian walking on the roadside.
- Cognitive distraction
This happens when the driver’s mind strays away from the driving process and starts to focus on other unrelated things such as work-related issues, family problems, and an uncertain future.
- Manual distraction
This happens when the driver is handling something else other than the steering wheel, like sending a text message, fiddling with the radio, or eating from an open container.
What are the effects of distracted driving?
Besides the obvious damage to vehicles, property, and road signage, the effects of distracted driving can be life-altering, near-fatal, or fatal to those caught up in between. Some of the most common injuries associated with distracted driving include:
- Broken bones
- Organ damage
- Traumatic brain injury
According to NHTSA estimates, the country loses over $200 billion every year to socioeconomic damages caused by distracted driving accidents. Some of the damages caused include:
- Insurance costs
- Reduced productivity
- Medical costs
- Traffic congestion
- Property damage
- Increased fuel costs
- Loss of income
- Legal costs
- Decreased quality of life
How to avoid the nasty web of distracted driving?
It is easy to underestimate the effects of distracted driving, especially if you have never been a victim. However, going by the latest stats from the NHTSA, it is only logical that you try as much as possible to avoid the nasty web of distracted driving.
The safest way to avoid falling into the trap of distracted driving is to change your habits. If you have to answer a call or respond to a text message, it is always a wise idea to park by the roadside before doing anything else to protect your life and those of other road users.