How to Recognize a Distracted Driver
Distracted driving is the No. 1 contributing factor to motor vehicle crashes in New York State, the New York Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee says. In recent years, cell phone use has been the most frequent form of distraction according to a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Almost 80% of the crashes and 65% of near-crashes in the study involved the driver looking away from the road just prior to the crash.
Engaging in any of the following actions while behind the wheel increases the risk of a crash or near crash by two to three times:
- Talking, listening, or texting on a hand-held device
- Adjusting the vehicle’s radio, navigation, or climate control system
- Applying makeup
Anything inside or outside of the vehicle that takes the driver’s attention away from the task of driving is a distraction and a safety factor.
At The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., we are committed to helping people who have been injured in car accidents caused by distracted driving in Queens, NY. Our car accident attorneys help crash victims who have serious injuries seek the compensation they need for medical bills, lost income, and other losses they have suffered.
Signs of a Distracted Driver on the Road
If you were in a car accident that someone else caused, would you know how to spot a distracted driver and suggest your attorney investigate that as a contributing factor? There are ways to demonstrate that a driver was likely to have been distracted at the time of the crash. Some of the most common signs include:
- Lack of braking. Drivers instinctively hit the brakes when they recognize a collision is about to occur. A lack of braking before a collision is an indicator of the driver’s lack of awareness of an impending crash and lack of focus on the road. In addition to lack of braking, distracted drivers sometimes brake at the last second before a collision as their attention snaps back to what’s happening in traffic.
- Driving slowly or at an inconsistent speed. Some distracted drivers get so engrossed in their distraction that they unconsciously ease up on the accelerator. Some drivers slow down because they know they aren’t paying attention to the road ahead.
- Drifting. Distracted drivers tend to weave within their lanes and sometimes drift into a neighboring lane or across the centerline.
- Lingering at stops. A driver who doesn’t react promptly after a red light turns green may be distracted. While stopped at intersections, some drivers take their attention off of the road and glance at their phones. In serious accidents in which distracted driving is suspected, we may seek the cell phone record of the at-fault driver to determine whether they were on the phone at the time of the accident.
- Running stop signs or lights. If you get into an accident or a near-miss at an intersection because someone ran a light or a stop sign, it’s likely the driver wasn’t paying attention to oncoming traffic. Some drivers try to speed through intersections to beat traffic.
- Teen driver with teen passengers. Multiple studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety have found that teenagers are more likely than older drivers to drive while distracted. Teenage passengers riding with a teen driver increase the likelihood of a distracted driving accident.
- Multiple children in the vehicle. Have you ever seen a young mother in a grocery store who has two, three, or more children in tow? Multiple children in a car, even while properly secured by seat belts and car seats, will cause a distraction at some point. A parent may take their eyes off the road ahead to talk to a misbehaving child in the backseat.
- Dog’s head at the window. Loose pets in the vehicle are a common driver distraction. At some point, Champ is going to need some attention and take the driver’s attention away from the task of driving.
- Out-of-state tags in NYC. New York City is a tourist destination. Drivers who are intrigued by landmark buildings, tourist attractions, signs, or activity on the sidewalk are more likely to be distracted by the City around them.
- You can see they’re distracted! If you pull up alongside a car and see the driver is holding a cell phone or food, is wearing earbuds, or has turned to talk to a passenger, you’re looking at a distracted driver. Many of us have seen a driver applying make-up, or combing their hair while looking in the mirror as they were driving.
No driver’s eyes are glued to the road 100% of the time. But every second you glance away at 60 mph, your car travels 88 feet – almost 30 yards. At 30 mph in city traffic, that is nearly 15 yards in a second. In bumper-to-bumper stop-and-go traffic, it only takes a second to be too late to avoid rear-ending someone or hitting a pedestrian or bicyclist.
Stay focused and avoid distractions while driving.
If you spot a distracted driver, steer clear of them. Slow down and let them get ahead of you so you can see them and keep a safe distance between your vehicles. If you see a driver who seems especially erratic or dangerous, note the license plate number, color, and make/model of the vehicle. Find a safe location to pull off the road to call 911 and report the unsafe driver.
Hit by a Distracted Driver in Queens? Contact a Car Accident Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident in Queens, NY, that may have been caused by a distracted driver, contact a distracted driving accident lawyer at The Tadchiev Law Firm, P.C., today. We are advocates for car accident victims. If you have serious injuries caused by a distracted driver and your medical bills exceed the limits of your no-fault insurance, our injury attorney can help you seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance.
We offer a free case review to answer any questions. We will not charge a fee unless we recover compensation for you. To set up your free case review today, call us or reach out online.