Have you ever been driving along a South Carolina highway and suddenly realize that your mind has wandered away from the road for a few seconds? Perhaps you were mulling over a recent disagreement you had with your spouse or scrolling through the virtual checklist in your mind regarding several other commitments you still had left to fulfill in your day? No matter what caused you to lose track of thought, it was likely a very disconcerting feeling to realize you’d been daydreaming behind the wheel.
If you answered yes to the question earlier in this post, you’re definitely not the only person to ever become lost in thought while driving. In fact, cognitive distraction is one of three major factors that place you and those around you at risk for injury, because each type of distraction increases chances for collision. Gaining better understanding of distracted driving risks may help keep you and your loved ones safe. Knowing where to seek support if a distracted driver hits you enables you to access help quickly if needed.
Major distractions that often lead to injury
You are responsible for your own choices and actions when you drive along a South Carolina highway or any other road. One can’t, however, hold you accountable for the decisions and maneuvers another motorist makes while driving. The following list provides basic information about three main types of driving distractions that may help you arrive to your destination safely:
- What is the driver thinking? In addition to daydreaming, carrying on conversations with other passengers or on cell phones (hopefully using no-hands devices) creates cognitive distraction that can place you at risk for injury. Carrying on business meetings, reminiscing with old friends or ordering products by phone are all activities best left for times when you are not driving.
- Where is the driver looking? Visual distraction is a major factor in many distracted driving accidents. Nowadays, many people use GPS and other electronic devices while driving. While some of these tools make direction navigation more convenient, they also pose serious visual distractions to drivers. You simply can’t look at the road ahead or around you and at a GPS or cell phone screen simultaneously. Looking at a GPS while driving is akin to driving blindfolded.
- What is the driver doing? How many times have you witnessed another motorist eating a burger or sipping drink while trying to work his or her way through a traffic jam? Manual distractions often lead to serious, even fatal, collisions. Other manual distractions besides eating and drinking include adjusting radio knobs, reaching for cigarette lighters or turning toward the backseat to adjust children’s seat restraints.
You can be proactive in avoiding your own driving distractions if you keep your cell phone off while you drive, don’t allow your dog or other pet to sit in your lap behind the wheel, and do your best to remain alert and focused on the task at hand. There’s not much you can do about another driver’s actions, however. If you suffer injury in a distracted driving accident, this could force you to endure a long, arduous recovery.
Such situations often impose undue financial strain on those injured in South Carolina distracted driving collisions. Many victims of past accidents have been able to recover their losses by asking personal injury attorneys to file legal claims on their behalves against those responsible for their suffering.