The problem of distracted driving is far more serious than most Cincinnati drivers are willing to acknowledge. You may even know that it’s a problem, but not realize that you’re contributing to the issue. Far too many people recognize the hazard of distracted driving in others, but don’t apply the same understanding of the issue to themselves.
For instance, 98% of US drivers recognize that texting is a dangerous act while driving, but 75% of those people do it anyway, with roughly 25% admitting that they feel that they can safely multitask, as though the hazard only applies to others, and not to themselves.
The Very Definition of Distracted Driving
The very definition of distracted driving is ‘any activity which can divert the driver’s attention away from the task of driving,’ and it is among the leading causes of Cincinnati, Ohio auto accidents. While texting and driving might be the first thing you think of when you hear the term, ‘distracted driving,’ it is far from being the only cause, and it is quite likely that people hold similar attitudes towards other forms of distracted driving that they do to cell phone use: it is dangerous for others, but not for you. Distracted driving includes talking to passengers, messing with the radio, fixing your hair, putting on makeup, eating or drinking, and wearing headphones. All of these things can divert your attention away from the task of driving and result in a serious accident. It only takes a moment for traffic conditions to change, for someone to brake suddenly to avoid a hazard, for a child to dart out into the road, for the traffic light to change. All it takes is one moment of not paying attention to cause a distracted driving auto accident, no matter how good you think you are at multitasking while driving.
The Dangers of Eating and Drinking While Driving
We need to address one of the most common causes of distracted driving that many people don’t even think about as a distraction. That is the act of eating and drinking. With the number of drive through fast food restaurants, hundreds of people are out there driving while they eat their dinner or drink their coffee. A common cause of distracted driving accidents is when someone spills what they are eating or drinking and is startled or attempting to clean up the mess. Yet, simply focusing on a meal is enough to cause your attention to be diverted from the road. In fact, you will probably be surprised to learn that you are 70% more likely to cause a distracted driving auto accident by eating or drinking. This is the one of the leading causes of distracted driving auto accidents, second only to cell phone use.
Studies reveal that drivers who are aged between forty years old and fifty years old are the most likely to eat and drink while driving, perhaps because they have had years to grow comfortable with their ability to drive and feel safe to do so. The next most likely group includes those between twenty and thirty years old, followed by teen drivers. Many people think that if their eyes are on the road, they are not distracted. However, even having one hand off the wheel to hold your drive through burger is enough to prevent you from responding quickly enough to a change in traffic conditions. Your mind may or may not be distracted, your eyes may be on the traffic where they ought to be, but your hands are distracted.
The Dangers of Using Headphones While Driving
Another common form of distracted driving in Cincinnati, Ohio, that many people don’t even identify as a distracted driving behavior, is the use of headphones. Many people feel that this is a safer alternative to using their cell phone for conversations that can be engaged in via headphones or as a more comfortable and enjoyable alternative to the radio for listening to music. You might think that you don’t really need to be able to hear your surroundings to drive safely. As long as your eyes are on the road and your hands are on the wheel, you should be safe, right? The reality is that headphone use is a distraction of your senses, even though you may not think you need to hear your surroundings to drive safely. By using headphones, you distract your mind from the road more than when you listen to the radio.
Further, you can prevent an auto accident by listening to your surroundings. For example, you can hear someone honking, hear the sirens of the police or ambulances, and hear the warnings of the railway. Because headphones can be so distracting for drivers, it is illegal to use them while driving on Ohio roads. Having said that, this is not just a problem for drivers, but for pedestrians and bicyclists, too. Someone who is running, walking, or riding a bike needs to be able to hear their surroundings to avoid becoming a victim of a pedestrian auto accident. This is because, again, you can’t hear the screeching breaks or honking of other vehicles, and your senses and mind are all distracted from everything going on around you.
Were You Injured in a Distracted Driving Auto Accident in Cincinnati?
If you’ve been injured in a Cincinnati auto accident, you should find out through an investigation whether or not the driver was distracted by anything, including eating, drinking, or wearing headphones. Many distracted driving cases are obvious, because the person has a cell phone with a text message or social media account open, or there is spilled food or drink in the accident, or they are still wearing their headphones. If you see any evidence of such distractions after an auto accident, and if you are able to do so, take photos. This evidence could prove valuable when you pursue a claim for compensation. Then, contact the experienced car accident legal team in Cincinnati, OH at the Chester Law Group for a free consultation and learn how we can help you through the process.