Distracted driving is a serious hazard. According to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving resulted in 3,166 deaths in 2017. Of that number, 297 were killed in crashes involving distracted teenage drivers. Whenever negligence like this leads to injuries or the loss of life, it’s important to speak with a skilled car accident lawyer about legal options.
The White Plains, NY auto accidents attorneys of Worby Vecchio Edelman, LLP would like to discuss the different kinds of distracted diving that can occur. We’ll open with a broad categorization of driver distraction, then offer examples of the most common ways drivers become distracted.
Three Categories of Distracted Driving
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are three kinds of distracted driving:
- Manual - When a driver takes their hands off of the steering wheel
- Visual - When a driver takes their eyes off of the road
- Cognitive - When a driver is not thinking about the road, adjacent vehicles, or their surroundings
Many cases of distracted driving are combinations of these three categories.
Texting Behind the Wheel
Texting while driving has become one of the biggest dangers. If you text while driving, you take your eyes off of the road, one or both hands off of the wheel, and may become distracted while writing and reading messages. This is why using your phone or a handheld mobile device while driving is illegal in the state of New York.
Cellphone Use While Driving
Calling someone on your cellphone can be as distracting as texting behind the wheel. You may have a hand off the steering wheel to hold your phone, and you could be distracted from the road ahead of you. If you have to make a call or check directions while driving, our White Plains attorneys recommend investing in a hands-free set. This ensures that your hands aren’t occupied while you drive.
It’s natural for us to want to look at something that catches our attention on the side of the road. One might be passing an accident and want to survey the damage and determine if people need help. Perhaps there are deer on the side of the road and it’s a chance to admire nature. While it’s only human to look, rubbernecking can lead to crashes.
Reaching for Objects in Your Vehicle
Sometimes you have to grab something you need while you’re behind the wheel. If that object is in the backseat or in a hard-to-reach place, you could be forced to take your eyes off the wheel, and could lose control of your vehicle. If you have to get an object that isn’t within reach, be sure to pull over somewhere safe to get it rather than putting yourself at risk.
Eating While You Drive
People are busy, and commutes can be long. That means many people eat while getting to and from work. Holding food and beverages can take hands off the wheel, making crashes more likely. If you have to eat behind the wheel, pick snacks that are easy to ingest and do not occupy both hands. Keep food and beverages within easy reach of you as well.
Grooming While You Drive
On the note of multitasking during commutes, many people try to style their hair or apply makeup in their rearview or side mirrors. This takes occupies the hands and takes eyes and overall attention away from the road. Be sure to save all grooming for when you’re safely at your destination.
Learn More About Auto Accident Litigation
If you or loved one has been harmed in a motor vehicle collision and your would like to learn more about your legal options, be sure to contact our team of auto accident attorneys. You can reach our law firm in White Plains by calling (914) 686-3700.