Driving with passengers in the car is an everyday thing. So, if it is such a distraction, why are there not many laws against it? Unlike talking on a phone, texting, or answering emails, a passenger isn’t inherently distracting. In fact, most drivers think of passengers the same way they think of the radio — a welcome accompaniment to driving, rather than a distraction. All the same, some people become too animated when talking to their fellow riders. Or their passengers could be having a distracting conversation that impedes the driver’s focus. Here are a few examples that Ohio car accident lawyers frequently see when it comes to passengers.
Kids in the Back Seat
Parenting while driving is a huge distraction, and for many people, it doesn’t seem like a choice. An upset or crying baby or toddler can be as much of a distraction as trying to calm them down. So what is a parent to do? Pulling over will often only prolong the situation considering most younger children simply want out of the car.
There’s also the issue of trying to change radio stations or set up something to entertain the toddler. These are battles that all parents face with young children, and it’s important to bear in mind that there are times when it’s appropriate to pull over. But, there are also times when nothing will console the child until you can release them from their car seat.
For older children, the issue is a little more complex. Children, particularly siblings, can fight or otherwise engage each other in the backseat. Leaving the parent to attempt to referee the situation from the front seat. As always, use your best judgment and hope that others on the road do the same.
The Road Trip Situation
A group of people is heading towards the same destination, and one person must take the reigns as the driver for some period of time. Road trips have some hype, and that leads to many distractions. Car Karaoke, games, and evens simple conversation can lead to distractions.
Of course, everyone should consider the needs of the driver, but that’s not always the case. Speak up if you’re the driver in these situations. Alternatively, if the person behind your crash was in this situation, make it known that you believe they were distracted.
There are times when the designated driver must put an end to drunken shenanigans and allow someone more qualified to take over. Drunk passengers are very distracting, and it’s even possible for them to absorb some responsibility for a wreck in rare situations. For example, if someone hits you, and they had a belligerent and distracting intoxicated person in the vehicle, you may have another person to consider when filing your claim.
In extreme cases where someone grabbed the wheel or tool action, which caused the driver to act in a way they wouldn’t normally, these passengers are more than a distraction. They’re a danger to everyone on the road.
Handling Distractions with Care
In all things, be honest with your passengers. If they’re distracting or diminishing, your focus tells them. It’s possible for your passengers to have a great time and you to keep your focus on the road. Additionally, it’s perfectly reasonable to tell your passengers to take it down a notch.
If it makes you feel better, make an excuse. Making an excuse such as having some worry about traffic building up or not knowing the way very well may help. Your passengers are likely drivers or will drive someday, and these concerns affect every driver at some time, even if it’s only when they’re new to it.
If passengers become unruly, don’t hesitate to stop the vehicle. Don’t put yourself and others in danger because of a belligerent or violent passenger. Uber and Lyft drivers are very familiar with having to kick out unruly passengers. In the instance where anyone in the car attempts to take or grab the wheel, you should contact the police. Even if they are a friend or family member, a violent or possibly inebriated person can lead to fatal accidents. Ohio car accident lawyers have seen this unfortunate situation more than once.
Contact Our Ohio Car Accident Lawyers
If someone is accusing you of driving with the distraction of a passenger, then you can fight against that claim. Alternatively, if you were hit because someone was clearly distracted, then you’ll need help proving that distraction. In either case, Ohio car accident lawyers may prove to be a valuable person to have on your side.