When people are behind the wheel, it's normal to get distracted. There are many things to think about, look at and listen to, from the vehicles outside your own to the radio station that has just changed songs.
Of course, distractions can be very dangerous, especially when they involve all the senses. The three types of distractions, manual, mental and visual, sometimes combine to make deadly situations.
Combining types of distractions increases the risk of a crash
The three kinds of distractions may not be as dangerous on their own as they are together. Here is a short explanation of each type.
- Manual distractions: When you take your hands off the wheel or have a physical distraction from driving
- Mental distractions: Distractions that take your mind off driving
- Visual distractions: Distractions that take your eyes off the roads
When combined, these distractions make you think about things other than driving, take your hands off the wheel and even taken your eyes off the road. Even if it's only for a few seconds, the risk of a crash increases significantly. Looking away from the road for around five seconds while traveling at 55 mph is enough time to cross the length of a football field. At that distance, there are many things that could go wrong, from running off the road to hitting a driver who stops in front of you.
In 2016, 3,450 people were killed in crashes related to distracted driving. For that reason, many states have enacted laws to ban texting and driving and to use graduated licensing systems to encourage more training before drivers are on the roads. By March 2019, 16 states and the District of Columbia had gone as far as to ban the use of any hand-held cellphones in vehicles.
What should you do if you think a distraction led to your crash?
If you believe that the driver who caused your collision was distracted due to seeing them look away from the road or not look up before hitting you, then you should mention this to the police and your attorney. It may be a helpful piece of information that can be used to assign fault in the collision and help negotiate a fair settlement for the injuries you've suffered. Today, the authorities can check cellphone records and look for signs of distractions to help hold those who are distracted behind the wheel responsible for their actions.