If it seems like the drivers around you are not paying attention, you just might be right. Distracted driving is a widespread problem in every state, and West Virginia is certainly no exception. The scary thing is that you cannot control whether you share the road with the distracted drivers who are putting you at risk for serious injuries.
Although you probably associate distracted driving with texting or using a smartphone, there is much more to it than that. The term actually refers to many different behaviors that take a driver’s attention off the road.
Eating on the go
Getting to school, work or home as quickly as possible tends to be a priority for a lot of drivers. This means they may not make time for important tasks, like eating. These drivers choose to eat while on the go instead, which is a pretty serious distraction as it takes their eyes, hands and thoughts off the road.
Keeping up appearances
Personal grooming is another problem. People who are in a rush to get somewhere may choose to brush their hair or apply makeup while driving. They might feel like they are saving time by multi-tasking, but what they are really doing is putting everyone else in danger.
Cellphones and crash risk
You already know that texting, calling or otherwise using a phone while driving is dangerous. Do the drivers who engage in these behaviors drive safely the rest of the time? According to researchers at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the answer is no.
Drivers who frequently use their phones behind the wheel are also much more likely than the average driver to engage in risky behavior. This includes things like speeding, frequently changing lanes and having to brake more frequently. Even when they are not on their phones, these drivers are more likely to cause accidents than drivers who do keep their phones down while driving.
What’s going on in your brain?
Drivers who think they are being safe by talking on the phone instead of texting are still putting themselves and others at risk. When talking on the phone, drivers tend to focus on the center of the road and ignore other things such as vehicles driving next to them or pedestrians getting ready to cross the street. Researchers say this is because your visual attention and processing does not work as well when you are distracted, which includes carrying on a phone conversation.
Surviving a distracted driving accident can be physically, emotionally and financially difficult. Getting the help you need for your injuries and medical bills may be essential for your recovery. Starting this process can be overwhelming though, especially if you are not sure how to navigate the West Virginia civil legal system. This is why you may want to consider working with an experienced attorney who can help you pursue a personal injury claim.