Distracted driving is the number one cause of accidents in the United States. In Wisconsin alone, one in five crashes involve distracted driving and in 2015, a total of 24,089 wrecks were caused by distracted drivers. While there are a variety of types and causes of such distractions, drivers should always strive to remain as focused as possible behind the wheel. A person’s life could depend on it.
Types of Distraction
Visual. Visual distractions occur when drivers take their eyes off the road.
Manual. Manual distractions occur when drivers take their hands off the wheel.
Cognitive. Cognitive distractions occur when drivers take their minds off driving, i.e. zoning out.
Causes of Distraction
While the distractions below are often avoidable, they cause the majority of car accidents each year.
Zoning Out. This happens when a driver’s mind wanders long enough to lead to a collision. This is the number one cause of distracted driving wrecks.
Cellphone Use. The second leading cause of distracted driving accidents involves the use of cell phones or other devices. Cell phones distract drivers in many ways – from texting and emailing, to picking up the phone if it falls.
Outside Events. Events outside the vehicle, like car accidents, cause collisions because the driver is more focused on the event than the road in front of them.
Other Occupants. Other occupants in the vehicle can cause major distractions. When the driver’s mind is focused on the child kicking the back seat or the dog trying to jump out the window, they might not notice that they’re shifting out of their lane.
Eating or Drinking. Busy days don’t always allow for meals; and sometimes a quick spin through the drive-through seems like the only option. Even just using your cupholder can distract you from the road ahead.
Adjusting Vehicular Controls. Whether your too hot or too cold, turning those knobs play a small factor in distracted driving accidents.
Moving Objects. If an insect ends up in your car, you might have the reflex to swat at it; however, this could remove your hands from the wheel.
Smoking. While only resulting in every one in one hundred distracted driving accidents, taking a second to light or put out a cigarette takes your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel.
Ways to Stay Focused
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation offers the following tips to remain focused while driving:
- Commit to driving safely and distraction-free, no matter what
- Turn off your phone, or download an app to prevent incoming and outgoing messages, calls, and notifications while driving; some even send an auto-response back to let people know you’re on the road
- Enlist the help of your passengers to avoid distraction
- Speak up as a passenger if you witness distracted driving
- Pull over safely if you need to address any distraction while driving
- Plan ahead: eat, groom, primp, and organize before OR after your drive to avoid any unforeseen distraction
- Get your loved ones on board: sign a pledge together and hold each other accountable for keeping your focus on driving whenever you’re behind the wheel
While following the steps above will decrease your likelihood of distracted driving, accidents still happen. Our diligent Milwaukee, WI car accident injury lawyers are here for you if you or a loved one have been in a car accident due to the negligence of a distracted driver. Contact us today.