Most safety campaigns to address distracted driving focus on texting or other smartphone use, almost disregarding other equally dangerous distractions. Drivers in Dallas County who thought they could multitask while driving are not alone. Safety authorities estimate as many as 660,000 drivers nationwide drive while distracted.
It may come as a surprise, but the human brain is able to process only a limited amount of information at a time. The primary task is to focus on the road and safe driving, and adding other activities distracts the brain from driving, forcing it to process other information.
Most common distractions
Anything that takes your attention away from driving is a distraction. Even if you switch your cellphone off or stow it away to avoid texting and making or receiving calls, any of the following activities can distract you:
- Talking to passengers or attending to children in the rear seat
- Eating and drinking beverages
- Programming a navigation system such as a GPS
- Grooming, shaving or applying makeup
- Adjusting an MP3 player or radio
These are but some of the things that could occupy the vision and minds of drivers.
Can you imagine driving while blindfolded or with your eyes closed? Would you change lanes or make turns while being blindfolded? Safety authorities say that looking at your cellphone for about 4.6 seconds while driving at 55 miles per hour is similar to driving a distance equal to the length of a football field with your eyes closed.
When you text, eat, drink, take phone calls or attempt any other form of multitasking, it challenges your brain to process information of several activities at the same time. This leads to performance problems that might interfere with your ability to drive safely.
Both Cognitive and Visual
Each type of distraction could prevent the safe operation of a vehicle. However, many of the typical distractions cause both cognitive and visual distractions. This exacerbates the risk level of causing car accidents, which could affect not only the distracted driver but also other road users.
You might be the victim
Even if you make a point of avoiding distractions while driving, you could fall victim to another driver’s distractions. When this happens, you might have grounds to pursue a claim for financial relief through the civil justice system of your state. While there are ways authorities can check cellphones to see if the driving was using it at the time of the crash, it might be a lot more challenging to determine whether the other driver was distracted by any of the many other sources of distraction.
This is where the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney in Dallas come in. A lawyer can launch an independent investigation to establish negligence and advocate for you throughout the ensuing legal proceedings in pursuit of damage recovery.