According to numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9 percent of fatal crashes in 2016 were the result of distracted driving, resulting in 3,450 fatalities. In addition, 9 percent of fatal crashes involving drivers age 15 to 19 involved distractions of various kinds.
Given these tragic figures, you can understand why the Ogden, UT auto collision lawyers of Froerer & Miles take distracted driving so seriously. We would like to consider some examples of car accidents caused by distraction, first by noting the different forms that distraction can take.
The Three Categories of Distracted Driving
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies three general types of distracted driving:
- Manual - A driver’s hand or both hands are off the wheel
- Visual - A driver’s eyes are off the road
- Cognitive - A driver is not thinking about the road and surrounding vehicles
It is also possible for a person to combine elements of these three general categories, which makes driving much more deadly.
Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can do behind the wheel, combining all three types of driver distracted noted above.
For perspective, consider the following fact about distractions behind the wheel. If you’re reading a text on your smartphone, your eyes are off the road for seconds at a time. At highway speeds, you can travel the length of a football field in just 5 seconds.
Making Calls While Driving
Even if you aren’t texting, talking on the phone can also lead to distraction. This is especially true if you are not using a hands-free set to make your take a call.
Whether texting or driving, the NHTSA noted that 14 percent of fatal crashes caused by distraction were the result of cellphone use behind the wheel. This is why our Ogden law firm takes crashes caused by phone use so seriously.
When there’s a car on the side of the road, exotic wildlife nearby, or some kind of distraction, it can contribute to an accident if a driver rubbernecks. These kinds of crashes could also involve the use of cellphones, as people try to take pictures while passing by; worse, a driver may attempt to take a selfie while behind the wheel.
Eating Behind the Wheel
Many people eat on the run while driving to or from work and school. This can increase the risk of a crash, however. Taking your hands off the wheel while the vehicle is in motion can lead to serious collisions. If you have to eat behind the wheel, only try to do so with simple foods, taking bites when the vehicle is at a complete stop. Ideally, wait to eat until you arrive at your destination.
Fixing Hair or Makeup
On the note of things people do during their commute, fixing your hair or makeup while driving is extremely dangerous. You’re taking your eyes and hands off the wheel for seconds at a time. It’s best to take care of these matters when you arrive at your destination. Make sure your vehicle is parked and completely stopped before you finish getting ready.
Reaching for Objects in the Car
Finally, we should note the dangers of reaching for objects in your vehicle. If there is something in the glove compartment or the backseat of your car, it can take a lot of effort, stretching, and fumbling from the driver’s seat. If an object is not ready to hand, make sure to pull off into a safe parking lot or to the curb, stop and park the vehicle, and get the object you need.
Learn More About Your Legal Options
For more information about your legal options after an auto collision, be sure to contact our team of injury accident and fatal collision attorneys. The law firm of Froerer & Miles can be reached in Ogden at (801) 621-2690.