Driving a car requires your full attention, and any distractions can cause catastrophic accidents. On average, eight people die in crashes involving distracted driving in the United States every single day.

If you were involved in an accident with a distracted driver, a South Carolina car crash lawyer can help you file a claim. They can review the evidence and look through police reports to see which distracted driving behavior caused your injuries and hold the person responsible liable.

What are the Three Types of Distracted Driving Behaviors?

The Center for Disease Control categorizes distracted driving into three main types:

  • Manual distraction: When the driver takes their hands off the wheel to perform another task, this is a manual distraction. Reaching for something in the backseat or footwell, changing the channel on your car’s radio, and drinking coffee are all examples of manual distractions.
  • Visual distraction: Visual distractions occur when drivers aren’t paying attention to the road. These distractions include looking at your GPS on your smartphone, turning your head to chat with a passenger, and looking out the window.
  • Cognitive distraction: If you take your mind off driving by focusing on something else, you’re engaging in a cognitive distraction. Cognitive distraction involves daydreaming, road rage, and thinking about personal and work-related issues.

The 5 Most Common Distracted Driving Behaviors 

These are some of the most common distracted driving behaviors that can result in serious accidents. Abstain from these actions when behind the wheel.

1.     Texting while driving

Cellular devices account for 13% of fatal distracted-related crashes. It may seem harmless to glance down at your smartphone to check for messages. However, looking at your phone for just 5 seconds is equivalent to traveling the length of an entire football field while blindfolded.

To resist looking at your cell phone, put your phone on silent and pull over to a rest area to answer urgent messages. Designate a passenger in your car to text on your behalf while you’re driving.

2.     Adjusting the vehicle’s control settings

Most modern cars include an in-car screen or touchscreen infotainment system, but these may also be a source of driver distraction. People spend an average of 40 seconds adjusting their infotainment systems in their cars, increasing the likelihood of a collision.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has raised concerns about the popularity of in-car screens in vehicles because of the impact distracted driving has on safety. To combat distraction, enter your navigation information into your touchscreen before you leave rather than while on the road. Ask a passenger in your vehicle to adjust the vehicle’s control settings for you when needed.

3.     Eating

Eating and drinking while driving can increase the risk of crashing by 3.6 times. A 2012 study reported that eating on the go slows reaction time by up to 44%, while drinking slows reaction time by 22%. If you need to eat while on the road, stop at the next place where you can get food and eat it while parked before continuing to your final destination.

4.     Personal grooming

Pull-down mirrors in the front seat of your vehicle should only be used while parked to check your appearance before exiting the car. However, 8% of women were found to groom themselves while driving, as were 3% of men.

A study by the American Automobile Association found that the second most common distraction for teen drivers was personal grooming. Make sure you apply cosmetics and take care of any personal grooming responsibilities before driving.

5.     Caring for children

Looking after your children while driving can be a tough balance to strike with safety in mind. A 2012 study found that children might be 12 times more distracting to a driver than talking on a smartphone.

To keep everyone in your car safe, prepare snacks, drinks, and toys to entertain kids ahead of time, so you can focus on the road. If your child needs immediate help, pull over to a safe location to assist them. You should also teach your children that parents need to pay attention to the road so that they can reach their destination safely.

Contact a Car Crash Lawyer

If you think the driver who hit you was distracted, work with an attorney from Joye Law Firm who can investigate your accident and determine liability. Contact us today to request a free case review to discuss if distracted driving caused your accident.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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