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The dangers of distracted driving

On Behalf of | Mar 16, 2021 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Multitasking might seem like a way of life for some people. However, there are many situations in which it is not safe to try to do two things at once. Drivers should always give their full attention to the task at hand, for example. Unfortunately, distracted driving is not at all uncommon.

So what do you associate with distracted driving? Like many people in Tennessee, you might first think about texting and driving. While this is certainly a big problem, distracted driving behaviors have been around since long before smartphones were invented.

The 3 types of distracted driving

A driver who is reaching for an item and a driver who is looking at a cellphone screen are both distracted but in different ways. Distracted driving can actually be broken down into three main categories. These categories are:

  • Manual distractions
  • Visual distractions
  • Cognitive distractions

Taking your hands off of the steering wheel to reach for something, adjust radio settings or pet a dog are all examples of manual distractions. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road, like when reading a text message or looking at children riding in the back. Cognitive distractions are whenever you take your mind off of the task at hand, like when daydreaming or planning your grocery list.

Phone habits are a problem

A 2020 survey from The Zebra found that while many people believe that using a phone while driving is not safe, a lot of drivers still engage in the behavior anyway. Nearly 30% of respondents said that texting and driving was the distracted driving behavior they engage with the most. Other commonly cited phone behaviors behind the wheel include:

  • Video chatting
  • Taking photos and videos
  • Engaging with work emails

Work pressure also plays a role in some drivers’ phone habits. In another study from 2019, 37% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 say their employers place a significant amount of pressure on them to immediately respond to work messages — even when driving. This age group may face a higher amount of pressure than their older counterparts because only 25% of people across all age groups report feeling the same

Increased crash risk

Although drivers tend to acknowledge that distracted driving can be a problem, few seem to treat it as seriously as something like drunk driving. These people might not be aware that distracted driving in any form increases your risk of causing a car crash involving serious injury or even death. Something as seemingly simple as just reaching for an object can cause the risk of crashing to shoot up by 800%.

You might be struggling to recover after your own experience in a distracted driving accident. Not only do you have your physical health to focus on, but you are probably also weighed down by medical bills, missed paychecks and emotional trauma. Addressing these damages is not always easy, but many victims in Tennessee find success in pursuing personal injury claims against drivers considered at fault for such accidents.