When you are driving, anything that is not related to that specific task is a distraction. This is a broad definition, but not inaccurate. Anything that removes eyes, hands, or attention from the road – anything at all – increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident.
The three main types of distraction that take place while people are driving are:
- Visual. Taking your eyes off of the road, even for a second, places everyone at risk. Visual distraction can be caused by billboards, looking at an electronic device, rubbernecking, or even Turing to look at a passenger
- Manual. Taking your hands off of the steering wheel is deadly. Hands off the wheel equals no control of the vehicle. It only takes a fraction of a second for this to go poorly. Hands are often removed from the steering wheel to eat or drink, comb hair or apply makeup, adjust a radio or GPS, or fiddle with controls
- Cognitive. Being consumed by thoughts unrelated to driving is perhaps the most dangerous form of distraction – and the most common. Not only does it include things like daydreaming and future planning, it includes all forms of visual and manual distraction as well
It is easy to see how some behaviors, such as handheld cellphone use, can increase the risk of accidents. That’s why cellphones have been the primary focus of distracted driving laws in New York State. But studies have shown that hands-free devices, such as talk-to-text, require a larger amount of attention, which can make onboard electronics even more dangerous than their handheld alternatives. And this is to say nothing of all of the other behaviors that increase distraction and, along with it, risks for serious or fatal injury.
You can only address your actions. Take time during Distracted Driving Awareness Month to commit to doing better. Pay attention while you drive and help keep yourself and everyone else safe from harm.
If you have been injured by a distracted driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Give us a call at 845-896-5295 to schedule a free case review and learn more. Located in Fishkill, Maurer Law Firm serves Poughkeepsie and all nearby areas of New York.
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