Part of being a safe driver is paying attention to one’s surroundings while operating a motor vehicle. It is important to remain focused on the road and to drive defensively. However, many drivers become distracted while driving and cause accidents. There are two primary categories of distractions: internal distractions and external distractions. Internal distractions refer to those that are inside of the vehicle. External distractions are those that are outside of the vehicle.
Common Types of External Distractions
There are a number of external distractions that are present on roadways. These include:
- Sudden movements by other cars
- Traffic jams
- Passengers in other vehicles
- Looking for landmarks or street names
- Road construction
- Traffic accidents
- Billboards and other signs
These distractions may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and cause an accident. According to one source, when drivers take their eyes off of the road for just two seconds, they increase the odds of being in an accident by 24 times.
Signs of Distracted Driving
It pays to drive defensively. This means that you try to anticipate the actions of other drivers. If you familiarize yourself with the signs of distracted driving, you may be able to avoid an accident. The signs of distracted driving include:
- Weaving between lanes
- Reduced reaction times
- Failing to yield to traffic signals
- Driving off of the road
- Following other cars too closely
- Staying at a traffic stop for an excessive length of time
- The driver is looking around, like he or she is lost, or is looking down, like he or she is texting
If you notice any of the above signs, you should keep your distance so that you have plenty of time to react if necessary.
Distracted Driving Statistics
In 2014, thousands of people were injured or killed due to distracted driving. Nationwide, 431,000 individuals were injured and 3,179 were killed. Most drivers involved in fatal distracted driving accidents are between ages 14 and 19. Drivers ages 20 to 29 make up 23 percent of the drivers in fatal crashes.
Should I Talk to the Insurance Company if I was Involved in a Distracted Driving Accident?
Aside from reporting the accident to your own insurance company, you should not make any other statements. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely contact you and ask you to make a statement. However, anything you say to the insurance company may be used against you later. Remember, the insurance company’s loyalty is to itself—not to you. What you think may be innocent statements may be used to reduce the amount of compensation you are able to receive in your case.
If You Were Injured, You Need a Personal Injury Attorney
If you were injured by a distracted driver, you need to speak with a personal injury attorney. At Stein & Shulman, our attorneys have obtained millions of dollars for our clients. To learn more about your legal rights and to receive your free consultation to discuss your claim, call us today at (312) 422-0500.