In a car accident, reaction time is often the key to minimizing damage. For instance, if a Chicago CTA bus in front of you pulls out into your lane, the speed at which you are able to apply the breaks can be the difference between walking away from the crash and suffering life-altering injuries. This is why distracted driving car accidents are so dangerous, and more and more people are falling victim to them every year.
According to studies conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, the average text message takes a person’s eyes off the road for 5 seconds. That’s enough time for your car to cover the entire length of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour, all completely blind. When you are operating a vehicle with thousands of pounds worth of steel, aluminum and hard plastic, taking your eyes off of the road for even this short amount of time can have extremely serious repercussions. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)
Distracted driving is any activity that has the potential to divert a driver’s attention away from their primary task of operating their vehicle. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that nearly 10 people are killed and over 1,000 are injured every single day because of distraction related car accidents and this number is likely still an underestimate. Our Chicago car accident lawyers have dealt with many distracted driving cases over the years, but due to the increasing prevalence of technology in and around automobiles, we believe it is important to raise awareness and educate as many people as possible to this hazard. Below is a short list that our legal team has put together, so our readers know the most common causes of distraction behind the wheel.
Use of a Cell Phone While Driving-All distractions are dangerous, but due to the fact that operating a smart phone requires visual, manual and cognitive attention, it is by far the most dangerous and pressing problem under this umbrella. What many people don’t know is that hands free devices and sync systems are not much safer than cell phone use, and can still lead to a serious accident.
Use of Other Technology-This category includes things like navigation systems and radios, as well as DVD, CD, and Mp3 players. Changing songs on an Mp3 player or looking for a station on the radio can be just as hazardous as sending a text message.
Eating, Drinking and Grooming-These are all serious problems primarily because they requires at least one hand being removed from the driving process. Eating and drinking requires you to focus on your food or drinks and leave drivers susceptible to other issues, such as spilling a hot coffee or dropping a cheeseburger on your shirt, which can cause them to lose control of their vehicle. Similar to eating and drinking, grooming requires a great deal of physical effort to be done properly, and this doesn’t compliment driving.
Passengers-Possibly to the most often overlooked distraction is everyone else your vehicle. Whether it’s crying babies, kids, or your crazy friends, passengers can take your attention away from the road completely, and put everyone at risk. Obviously crying babies are one thing, but if you find yourself in a vehicle with distracting passengers, establish basic ground rules and let them know that they need to be considerate of you while you are driving. (Distraction.Gov)
Our lawyers know how devastating negligent and reckless drivers can be; stay safe, don’t drive distracted.