Smiley & Smiley, LLP

Why is distraction so dangerous?

Whenever we get behind the wheel of our cars, we are taking control of a heavy, powerful machine. Because we do this so often, it can be easy to forget just how much responsibility we are taking on whenever we drive.

In fact, it can be so easy to forget this that people regularly engage in extremely dangerous activities while driving, including using cellphones and other distracting behaviors. However, we encourage readers of this blog to rethink their driving habits and take into account why distracted driving is so dangerous.

If you are searching through a purse or eating, your hands are off the wheel. This, as explained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is manual distraction. When your hands aren't in control of the vehicle, you can easily swerve, drift out of your lane or be unable to dodge an approaching road hazard.

If you are looking at your GPS device or someone in the backseat instead of the road, then your eyes are off the road. These visual distractions, no matter how brief, can make it impossible for you to scan the roadways and take into account obstacles that you need to avoid.

If you are very sad, angry or otherwise overwhelmed by a particular emotion or thought, you could be considered cognitively distracted. When you aren't thinking about driving, you run the risk of doing things like running a red light, speeding or turning the wrong way down a one-way street.

Even one type of distraction poses a threat to motorists, but many common behaviors, like using a cellphone, involve multiple types of distraction. This increases the risk of accident.

Taking your hands off the wheel, your eyes of the road and your attention away from the task of driving can prove to be a catastrophic decision. If you or a loved one has been injured by a driver who was distracted in any of the ways mentioned above, then you can take legal action against that driver. A distracted driver can and should be held accountable for the decision to engage in behaviors other than driving safely.

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