It is easy to spot a distracted driver when he or she is using a phone. You have probably seen your fair share of drivers with their eyes glued to the screen instead of the road, and you understand how important it is to distance yourself and drive cautiously. But did you know that distracted driving was around long before smartphones hit the market?
Although driving distractions have become almost synonymous with smartphones, they are actually anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the task at hand. These behaviors can be hard to spot, too. Unfortunately, this means that you encounter more distracted drivers than you might think.
The 3 types of distractions
Distracted driving is an umbrella term that refers to different behaviors behind the wheel. Those behaviors fall into three distinct categories. These categories are:
A manual distraction is anything that requires a driver to take his or her hands off of the steering wheel, while a visual distraction is when a driver looks at something other than the road. Cognitive distractions are perhaps the most difficult to spot because drivers can look focused with both hands on the wheel and eyes ahead, but other thoughts, or even daydreaming, are actually preoccupying them.
Drivers face different pressures
Work-life balance is hard to achieve, especially in today’s fast-paced environment. Younger workers between the ages of 18 and 34 say they face a lot of pressure to respond to work messages when they are off the clock. That pressure even extends to when they are driving. A 2019 study from The Zebra found that 37% of adults in this age group say they feel as if they have no choice but to respond to those messages while driving.
Parents do not have much reprieve from their duties, either. Nearly 90% of parents with small kids admit to dealing with distractions while driving. This commonly means looking in the rear-view mirror or glancing over one’s shoulder to look in the backseat, both of which are visual distractions.
Is anyone safe?
Experts estimate that distracted driving accidents injured approximately 391,000 people in 2017. Data from 2019 shows that distracted driving was part of 8.5% of all fatal crashes. It is likely that neither of these figures show the whole picture because distracted driving can be so hard to spot. Most people in Colorado would not notice that a driver had glanced at his or her kids in the rear-view mirror just before causing an accident.
You do your best to follow the rules of the road, so an injury in a distracted driving accident probably came as a shock. Getting proper medical care should be your top priority, but you also need help addressing the cost of that care. You can hold the distracted driver who caused your injuries accountable for his or her actions through successful legal action. But proving that a driver was dealing with a distraction can be difficult, so be sure to work with an experienced attorney who has your best interests at heart.