You may think it’s fairly harmless to take your eyes off the road for “just a second” to read a text, type an address into the your car’s GPS or take a bite of that juicy cheeseburger from the drive-thru, but you’re actually risking your life and the lives of others on the road.
Distracted driving can significantly raise your chances of being in an auto accident. An average of nine people die and over 1,000 are injured every day in the U.S. in crashes reported to involve distracted driving. In 2015, 3,477 were killed and 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes related to distracted drivers in the U.S.
Technically speaking, there are three main categories of distracted driving:
- Visual: when you look away from the road
- Manual: when your hands leave the steering wheel
- Cognitive: when your mind isn’t focused on driving
Doing any activity that diverts your focus away from the road is distracted driving. Texting, talking on a phone (even if it’s hands-free), adjusting the navigation system and eating in the car are all just a few of the many examples of activities that can be distracted driving, endangering the driver, passengers and others on the road.
Texting behind the wheel is really a bad idea because it involves all three categories — visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Driving at 55 mph, viewing or typing a single text can divert your eyes from the road for an average of five seconds. During that time, your vehicle has driven the length of a football field.
But even if you’re obeying the rules of the road and not driving distracted, other drivers might not be so careful. If you or a loved one is involved in an auto crash due to distracted driving or another cause, it’s important to know your rights and how an attorney could help you get compensation for your injuries or vehicle damages.