Distractions seem to be the road hazard that simply resists all efforts of reduction or elimination. From safety slogans to harsh legal penalties, drivers are encouraged to keep their attention focused squarely on the road around them. Unfortunately, even with all the attention paid to distracting activities, serious collisions can occur due to unexpected distractions.
While texting and reading email behind the wheel are nearly universally agreed-upon distractions, there are other activities that could be considered unexpected distractions, including:
- Listening to your favorite songs: Listening to your vehicle’s audio system can reduce your ability to focus on the road. Whether it is your favorite song, or a song listened to at a high volume, focusing on the audio rather than the road can lead to devastating collisions.
- Dining and driving: Whether it is a college student eating breakfast on the way to class or a worker eating dinner on the way home after a long shift, dining and driving is so commonplace that it is rarely considered a distraction. Unfortunately, even something as innocuous as taking a sip from a water bottle while driving requires the driver to remove a hand from the steering wheel, his or her focus from the road, and, often, the eyes from the surroundings.
- Children as passengers: During the ride, the children might get into things they are not supposed to, start arguments with siblings, need a snack or incessantly ask questions of the driver. No matter the type of distraction, children can certainly pull attention from the road.
- Pets in the vehicle: Whether they are happy about the ride or terrified of being in the vehicle, pets can present a strong distraction from the road. Drivers might need to comfort an animal by talking to it, soothing it, petting it, or simply letting it ride on their lap. Additionally, a pet might excitedly jump from seat to seat pulling the driver’s focus from the road.
Distracted drivers can cause car crashes with catastrophic injuries and devastating property damage. Depending on the types of vehicles involved and the speeds at which they were traveling, these collisions can even lead to fatalities. If you were injured or have lost a loved one in a wreck caused by a distracted driver, it is wise to seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney.