Distracted driving is one of the biggest problems Texans face on the roads today. According to the CDC, at least eight people are killed and 1,000 people are injured every day in the United States in collisions that involve distracted drivers. A driver is considered distracted when they are participating in any activity that takes their full focus away from driving their vehicle. You can be distracted while driving a car, truck, bus, or even an ATV. Every distraction a driver pays attention to increases the chance that driver will cause a car crash. There are an infinite number of distractions drivers must tune out when operating their vehicles. The most common types of distractions can be divided into three categories – visual, manual, and cognitive. Understanding the three main types of distractions can help you learn how to avoid them and keep your focus completely on the road ahead.
A visual distraction is one that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. When most people think of distracted driving, they immediately think of visual distractions. The world around us is full of visual distractions. Before cell phones, we had large roadside billboards, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, car accidents we passed along the way, children misbehaving in the back seat, the gauges on the instrument panel, and more. As technology has advanced, cell phones, GPS systems, complicated entertainment centers, and TV screens in motor vehicles have increased the possibility of being visually distracted while driving. When a driver takes their eyes off the road, even if only for a moment to read a message or look behind them, their focus is lost. It makes it much easier to miss important information that could prevent an auto accident. Visual distractions can prevent a driver from braking when traffic stops suddenly, from swerving out of the way of debris in the road, or from even stopping at a red light. Driving safely requires focus. In just five seconds of driving at 55 miles per hour, a car can travel the length of a football field. If a driver takes their eyes off the road for just five seconds, they can travel a great distance without even looking which can cause a serious collision. At higher speeds, visual distractions only become more and more dangerous.
A manual distraction is one that physically takes a driver’s hands off the wheel for any amount of time. This immediately reduces the amount of control a driver has over their vehicle, as it takes both hands to safely maneuver a car on the road. Some examples of manual distractions include eating, drinking, smoking, vaping, adjusting the temperature in the vehicle, putting on makeup, getting something from a purse or bag, and more. More people indulge in manual distractions than they realize. Manual distractions considerably reduce a driver’s reaction time when they need to make a sudden change, including turning the wheel quickly.
A cognitive distraction takes the driver’s mind off of driving. These distractions are the hardest to detect as drivers do not realize they are distracted until they snap out of it or it is too late and they end up in an accident. In most cases, the driver looks like they are doing everything right but their mind has lost focus and they are not able to react to changes on the road. Some cognitive distractions include listening to music or a podcast, having a conversation via Bluetooth, daydreaming, talking to another passenger, thinking about stressful topics, or thinking about what you want to cook for dinner. It does not take much to become cognitively distracted while driving.
When thinking about distracted driving, most people think of texting while driving, which has not been mentioned yet. That is because it combines multiple types of distractions and is exceptionally more dangerous than just one type of distraction. Texting while driving involves visual, manual, and cognitive distractions and is thus also known as a triple threat. This means that your mental and physical attention is fully on the phone instead of on the road. Texting and driving has caused countless car accidents and has killed thousands of people. Even adjusting a vehicle’s air conditioning can be a triple threat distraction. A driver is first distracted cognitively by determining they are uncomfortably warm. They then physically move their hand off the steering wheel and look at the air conditioning controls. They have to then refocus on the road ahead once they are comfortable with the temperature. These distractions can quickly compound and lead to serious car accidents.
Houston Distracted Driving Accident Attorneys
When an accident occurs because of a distracted driver, it must be proven that the driver’s negligence caused the crash. J.D. Silva & Associates helps our clients hold distracted drivers accountable for their actions and get financial compensation for their damages. This can include reimbursement of medical bills, assistance with ongoing disabilities caused by the car accident, payment for lost wages (current and future), and assistance with pain, suffering, and emotional distress. We work with the insurance companies to obtain the maximum amount you are due and to ensure the responsible party or parties are held accountable.
J.D. Silva & Associates wants to keep Texas safe from dangerous distracted drivers and make sure victims in these accidents get the help they deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact us today at 281-971-3200.