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Charleston Personal Injury Attorneys / Blog / Car Accidents / What Is Distracted Driving?

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is an extremely dangerous practice. Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed in accidents involving drivers who are not paying adequate attention to the road. However, many people are unaware of what this practice actually is and what behaviors constitute dangerous driving.

Distracted driving involves any action that takes your mind, hands, or eyes away from the active operating a vehicle. Even just a few seconds of diverted attention can lead to a serious accident. For these reasons, it is important to remain as vigilant as possible when driving a car.

Distracted Driving Statistics

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects statistics and data on distracted driving. According to the agency, distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020 alone. This amounts to 8.1% of all traffic fatalities in 2020.

Texting while driving is a very common very alarming practice. According to the NHTSA, sending a text takes your eyes off the road for a total of 5 seconds. If you’re driving 55 mph, this is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field without watching the road.

The Three Types of Distracted Driving

When many people think of distracted driving, they think of texting and driving or otherwise using a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle. The truth is that there are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive.

  • Visual Distractions: This involves any distraction that removes your eyes off the road. For example, you may look at your phone to send a text message or set up your music. You may look in the mirror to fix your makeup or hair.
  • Manual Distractions: This involves any distraction that removes your hands away from the wheel. For example, you may use your hands to eat food or drink beverages while in the car. You may fiddle with the GPS system or radio.
  • Cognitive Distractions: This involves any distraction that takes your mind away from act of driving. For example, you may be on a hands-free phone conversation that is getting very intense. You may be distracted by one of your children asking a question from the back seat or become immersed in a podcast or radio segment.

Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Everyone can do their part to reduce the rate of distracted driving accidents on the road. Remaining vigilant, removing distractions, and staying safe on the road can help you prevent these dangerous collisions.

Here are few tips to help you avoid distractions while driving.

  • Reduce the number of passengers in your car and only allow a few people in your vehicle at a time.

  • Practice defensive driving and review new techniques. Stay vigilant of other people on the road and be ready to respond to an emergency.

  • Never eat or drink while driving. Keep food away to avoid unexpected spills and unnecessary distractions.

  • Never use your phone while driving and reserve it only for emergency use. Do not film videos. Check social media, send text messages or dial phone numbers.

  • Sleep is also a major contributor to cognitive distractions. If you feel like you’re extremely fatigued or even a little bit sleepy, pull over to a safe place to rest and recharge.

Although these tips can help you stay safe, accidents may still occur on South Carolina roads if you are involved in a collision with a distracted driver, contact a South Carolina car accident attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can help you understand your legal options and plan your next steps.

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