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Is Distracted Driving Really That Bad?

The issue of distracted driving has taken American by storm. We have commercials, slogans, high school presentations, and even highway “text stops” in some states. People are convinced that distracted driving is a national issue and that cellphones are the main culprit. But is any of that true? Is distracted driving really that bad?

It’s Bad

Distracted driving makes up about 25% of all car accidents in the United States. That means you’re about as likely to be in an accident caused by a drunk driver as a distracted driver. Not only that, but distracted driving and drunk driving have the same fatality rate, claiming around 3,150 American lives per year.

From statistics alone, it seems that distracted driving is just as bad as driving under the influence. Preventing these two kinds of accidents would effectively eliminate 50% of all motor vehicle crashes. Over 10 years, that would save nearly 63,000 lives.

Explaining why distracted driving accidents are so dangerous requires an understanding of the three kinds of driving distractions.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions are probably the first thing you consider when you think about driving distractions. Whether it’s looking at something on the side of the road or glancing at your GPS, it is a distraction just the same.

These distractions tend to be more dangerous because drivers become so caught up in looking away from the road that they fail to notice the imminent collision. They’re unable to brace for impact or brake fast enough to soften the blow.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions are anything that causes a driver to move their hand from the wheel. That might include eating, adjusting the radio, or reaching for something rolling around the cabin.

These accidents tend to be less distracting on their own, but become increasingly dangerous when paired with the other kinds of driving distractions.

Cognitive Distractions

Many don’t realize that cognitive distractions are arguably the biggest cause of distracted driving accidents. A cognitive distraction is anything that causes a driver to take their mind and mental focus off the road. It might be singing along to the radio or simply daydreaming on the work commute.

Some drivers experience such intense daydreaming that they’re almost on autopilot until they reach their destination. For that reason, they are completely unable to respond to unexpected events, like a car in the wrong lane or an animal crossing the road.

Triple Threat

These driving distractions are dangerous individually, but some activities cause a driver to engage in all three distractions at the same time. These actions are so dangerous that a driver may lose control of their vehicle on a flat, straight road with no traffic.

A few examples of these “triple threat” driving distractions include eating, reaching for items rolling about the cabin, arguing with a passenger, and cellphone use.

Cellphones are notorious in the world of distracted driving. They are a constant reminder of all the social media, games, and text messages pulling at a driver’s mental focus.

Even worse is the unexpected notification. When a message comes in, many drivers can’t help but wonder what the notification might be and whether its urgency justifies taking their hands off the wheel, their eyes off the road, and their minds off the task at hand.

While these triple threats are certainly tempting, it’s only a matter of time before indulging these distractions leads to tragedy.

If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries in a distracted driving accident, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Riverdale auto accident attorney from Law Offices of Falanga & Chalker to evaluate your case, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (470) 450-1164.

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