What Are the Most Common Types of Distractions While Driving
September 5, 2022
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year, over 3,100 individuals die and over 424,000 people sustain injuries in distracted driving accidents.
Certain distractions result in these crashes more frequently than others. In this blog, we will discuss the most common driving distractions. We will also explore how an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer can help recover monetary damages following a distracted driving accident. Reach out to a Grand Rapids car accident lawyer.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving usually refers to any activity that takes a driver’s attention away from driving, such as eating and drinking or texting on the phone while behind the wheel. However, when a driver’s attention diverts from driving, they risk causing catastrophic accidents, primarily since motorists cannot operate their cars safely unless the exercise of driving has their full attention.
The Different Categories of Distractions
While any non-driving distraction can increase the motorist’s risk of an accident, these distractions often fall into these categories:
A Manual Distraction
These distractions are often the result of a motorist removing their hands from the wheel because they are eating or using their phone.
A Visual Distraction
Visual distractions result when the motorist does not watch where they are going or the road because they are doing things such as turning around to talk to passengers in the back.
An Auditory Distraction
These distractions result from a sound that shifts the motorist’s attention from the road, such as passengers talking to the driver or music.
A Cognitive Distraction
Cognitive distractions generally occur when the motorist’s mind wanders away from driving, whether they are too exhausted or too preoccupied with thinking about things other than driving.
Most Common Types of Distractions While Driving
As you can see, many distractions can cause motorists to lose control of their cars or increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents. However, in general, the most common types of distractions that are known for causing devastating crashes include the following:
1. Texting and Driving
Talking or texting on the phone is one of the most common types of distracted driving behaviors and is known to increase the likelihood of debilitating motor vehicle accidents.
According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), texting on the cell phone increases the risk of an accident or a near-crash by 23 times.
However, these issues do not end there. In addition:
- When a motorist drives and talks on the phone, their impairment compares to someone driving intoxicated.
- Motorists who use their cell phones while driving are 5.36 times more likely to get into an accident than undistracted motorists.
- Reading a text or sending one will usually take a driver’s eyes off the road for approximately five seconds, which equals driving the entire length of a football field, with their eyes closed, at 55 miles per hour.
Even though over 84 percent of motorists understand that cell phone use while driving is hazardous and find it unacceptable, almost 36 percent of the same group admit that they have read or sent text messages or emails while driving in the past 30 days.
2. Lost in Thought
Getting lost in one’s thoughts is one of the most significant causes of distracted driving collisions. Why? Because when a motorist’s mind begins to wander while driving, it can result in horrifying crashes as these individuals are often unable to react quickly enough to dangers on the road or other issues they should avoid.
This type of distracted driving usually results during daily commutes because drivers tend to get too comfortable with their route and become unconcerned about the road or what they are doing behind the wheel. Consequently, their mind tends to drift off, which increases their risk of causing a deadly accident.
Daydreaming while driving is often more dangerous than using a cellphone while driving. In fact, according to data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the most significant cause of distracted driving was a motorist’s mind wandering long enough to result in a collision. This data indicated that drivers thinking about something other than driving caused over 61 percent of motor vehicle fatalities.
In addition, while a driver can get lost in thought at any point in a drive, driving long distances without a break and driving fatigue are often the most common contributing factors to this type of distraction.
3. Outside Events
Rubbernecking is a term used to refer to a motorist turning their head while driving to look at a passing accident or roadside event. However, this behavior results in tragic and life-changing crashes.
Moreover, motorists tend to drive close together as they slow down to observe an event or accident. As a result, when a driver turns their head and the motorist in front of them slows down or stops, the rubbernecking driver may not have enough time to prevent a collision.
4. Talking With Other Occupants
Motorists who interact with passengers, animals, or children put themselves and others on the road at risk of a devastating accident, especially if they turn around to talk or take their hands off the wheel to deal with kids fighting in the back seat.
5. Trying to Reach Things in the Motor Vehicle
When distracted motorists reach for something in their bag or that fell on the floor, they can lose control of their vehicles. Research shows that a motorist is eight times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle crash when reaching for an object while driving.
6. Doing Personal Grooming
While most drivers know they should not take part in personal grooming while operating their vehicle, it is not unusual to see motorists brushing their hair, applying makeup, or even changing their clothes while driving. However, these distractions can end up causing the motorist to lose control of their car and result in a massive wreck.
7. Eating and Drinking
According to an NHTSA study, motorists who eat and drive increase their odds of an accident by approximately 80 percent. Distracted drivers fussing with the food and drinks caused 65 percent of near-miss accidents.
The study even described some of the most dangerous foods and beverages drivers could have in the car while driving. This list includes coffee, hot soups, tacos, hamburgers, donuts, soft drinks, and chocolate.
8. Adjusting Controls
Adjusting the air conditioning, changing the radio station, and playing around with the GPS while operating a vehicle can take a motorist’s attention away from the road long enough to cause a debilitating motor vehicle accident.
Other Common Distractions
While the above list indicates the more common causes of distracted driving accidents, it does not include every reason behind these horrifying accidents. That is why if you suffered harm in a distracted driving accident due to the wrongful actions of another person or motorist, make sure you reach out to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
These lawyers can determine whether you have a viable case and your legal options. They can also assist you as you go after maximum financial recovery.
Typical Injuries in a Distracted Driving Accident
While distracted driving accidents can result in a variety of injuries, differing in severity and type, these accidents are typically known for causing the following types of injuries:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Fractured bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal trauma
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Facial injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Limb loss
- Crushing injuries
Many of these injuries can also result in extensive medical treatments, leading to astronomical medical bills that can forever impact the victim and their family financially.
Financial Damages You Can Pursue Following a Distracted Driving Accident
Depending on your distracted driving accident, you may recover monetary damages.
These damages usually break down into two categories: economic and non-economic, which include payment for:
- Medical bills related to doctor visits, surgeries, prescription medications, ambulance services, emergency treatments, and other types of medical treatments
- Future ongoing medical care
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Replacement of domestic services, including things such as child care or cleaning services
- At-home nursing care
- Personal property damages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality and enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Physical disfigurement
Yet, to determine which of these damages may apply to your case, it may be best to reach out to a knowledgeable car accident attorney, mainly since these damages include both hard-to-prove and easily verifiable losses, which may make securing these damages a complicated undertaking.
Thankfully, when you work with a skilled lawyer, you do not have to stress about going after this compensation alone. Instead, a legal professional can determine the extent of your losses, determine what financial recovery you can pursue, and seek maximum compensation for you.
Fight for the Justice and Financial Damages You Deserve With an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Although no amount of money will let you forget your distracted driving crash or the injuries and losses it caused you, just compensation can help you rebuild your life and offer you financial peace of mind.
You will not have to fight for this outcome with a skilled legal professional on your team.
Instead, when you hire an attorney, they can:
- Look into the facts of your distracted driving accident, determine if you have a viable legal claim, and determine your legal options.
- Make sure you receive the legal support and answers you require regarding the questions you have about your case and the legal proceedings involved.
- Analyze the collision, investigate what happened, and secure the evidence to prove fault and damages.
- Determine who was responsible for your accident and hold them answerable for the harm and losses you suffered.
- Ensure your legal motions and documents are prepared and submitted to the court before time runs out.
- Tackle the settlement negotiations and discussions with the insurer and go after a fair settlement offer.
- Proceed to trial and fight for the recovery you deserve if the insurance company will not pay you an acceptable settlement.
If a distracted driving collision disrupts your life or the life of a loved one, do not delay getting the legal help you need. Instead, contact an experienced car accident attorney today for your free case consultation and learn how they can fight for your rights and go after the compensation you deserve. Reach out to a Grand Rapids personal injury lawyer.