A car is a complex, powerful machine that always carries the potential risk for catastrophic injuries and even death. However, since use is so common in the United States, it is easy for drivers to overlook these risks and the dangers they face. Driving becomes, rather than a dangerous and thrilling activity, something mundane and boring.
This mindset often leads to distracted driving. It’s easy for your mind to wander when you’re bored. Maybe you even actively look for distraction, trying anything to feel more active and engaged — though not with driving. If people would step back and think about the risks, the dangers and the complexities of driving, they’d focus on the task at hand, but the reality is that most people lose sight of this fairly quickly after getting a license.
To help bring it back to the forefront, let’s dig a bit deeper into distracted driving.
Phones are the major offenders, but they’re not alone
Smartphones have changed distracted driving forever, pushing it into the spotlight. People often feel addicted to their phones, and they use them for everything: talking, texting, browsing the internet, using social media, taking pictures, listening to music, etc.
That said, phones are not alone in creating distractions. They take many forms, some of which include:
- Turning on a new song or changing the radio station
- Using other elements of the car’s built-in entertainment system
- Eating and drinking while driving
- Looking at distractions outside of the car, from billboards to other accidents
- Talking to passengers who are riding with you in your car
- Looking down or reaching out to use the navigation system
- Adjusting the mirrors and other systems in the car
For some, the boredom just causes their mind to wander. That too is a distraction.
Thousands of people lose their lives annually
Don’t assume that distracted driving is a small, niche issue. It’s a major concern, and it’s often compared to drunk driving. It takes thousands of lives per year — more than 3,000 in 2017 alone, for instance. And that’s only the accidents that officials could prove came from distraction.
It’s easy to justify before an accident
Part of the problem here is that distracted driving is easy to justify in advance. Drivers think they’re good at it. They think they can do it quickly enough to avoid a crash. They think it’s not really that risky. None of this is true, but that may only become apparent after the crash.
Have you gotten badly injured in an accident with a distracted driver, or have lost a loved one? This is a very difficult time, and it is important to make sure you know exactly what rights you have.