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The problem with distracted driving

On Behalf of | Sep 11, 2021 | Personal Injury

In a world filled with smartphones, endless streaming options and other forms of instant gratification, it can be difficult to keep your focus on just one task at a time. You know just how important it is to practice safe driving though, which is why you do your best to keep distractions to a minimum. Unfortunately, other drivers in New Hampshire rarely take the same precautions. Distracted driving is a serious problem that increases the risk of:

  • Accidents
  • Injuries
  • Death

In 2019, distracted drivers accounted for nearly 9% of all fatal car crashes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — the CDC — eight people die each and every day in distracted driving accidents. Distracted drivers also contribute to approximately 20% of all car crash injuries.

The 3 types of distracted driving

Most people tend to lump all distracted driving behaviors into one single category. However, there are actually three distinct categories under which different behaviors fall. These categories are:

  • Visual
  • Cognitive
  • Manual

A visual distraction is anything that takes your eyes off the road, like looking at a billboard or children riding in the back seats. Cognitive distractions are behaviors that take your mind off the task at hand, like thinking about your grocery list or the meeting you had at work. Anything that takes your hands off the wheel is a manual distraction, including reaching for an object, which increases your chance of causing an accident by 800%.

The most common distractions

Simply being lost in thought is one of the most common distracted driving behaviors. It is also one of the most difficult to spot, as a driver might appear to be focusing on the road but might not be thinking about it at all. Other common distractions include:

  • Cell phone use
  • Drinking or eating
  • Chatting with passengers

These behaviors are more common than you might think, too. A Jan. 2021 survey from The Zebra found that nearly 53% of respondents admitted to drinking and eating while behind the wheel. Another 24% said they routinely text behind the wheel, while another 12% said they take photos while driving.

Distracted driving vs. drunk driving

Most people know just how dangerous drunk driving is. Fewer people recognize the dangers of distracted driving even though they share many of the same symptoms. Both drunk and distracted drivers tend to have slowed reaction times, which is a significant contributing factor to car accidents.

Distracted driving accidents are often serious, and victims tend to experience a range of physical and emotional injuries. Financial damages often complicate recovery, too. Although every car accident is unique, many choose to pursue compensation through the careful actions of a personal injury lawsuit.

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