Distractions are all around us when driving. Colorful signs vie for our attention on the side of the road. The radio brings us news, music and interesting new thoughts. Our phones put navigation at our fingertips, but these phones also mean that the internet, communication with our families and more are just a click away.
When drivers allow themselves to become distracted, they put other drivers and their passengers at risk. Distractions cause many accidents throughout the United States, and these accidents claim thousands of lives every year. The CDC recognizes three different types of distractions: visual, manual and cognitive.
Visual distractions make it difficult for drivers to react quickly.
Drivers rely on their vision to identify potential hazards, keep track of their car’s speed, navigate North Carolina’s roadways and more. Anything that takes their eyes off the road could leave them without the warning they need to drive safely. Even glancing down to adjust the radio or adjust a navigation program could cause an accident if, for example, the driver in front of them had to stop suddenly.
Manual distractions take drivers’ hands away from the steering wheel.
The time it takes a driver to put their hands back on the wheel while eating in the car or reaching for fallen objects could leave them unable to control the vehicle at a crucial moment. Even one-handed steering could limit a driver’s ability to avoid hazards. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only recommends one-handed driving when slowly backing up or momentarily operating vehicle controls.
Cognitive distractions keep drivers from focusing.
Daydreaming, focusing too much on the radio, conversations with passengers inside the vehicle and other activities might seem harmless. However, these distractions can also cause accidents. When a driver puts more of their focus on these activities rather than the road in front of them, they can easily lose track of their speed, drift into another lane and make other dangerous driving mistakes.
While distractions may be all around us while driving, it is possible for drivers to avoid distractions and keep others safe. If you have been harmed by a distracted driver, you may be eligible for compensation.