Driven to Distraction
As an injury attorney, I see many accidents caused by distracted driving. Here are some of the biggest distractions:
1. Passengers. Passengers are distracting, especially to teens who sometimes tend to look at their passengers as they talk. Teen distraction by other occupants is the reason why they are limited under the current Tennessee graduated driver’s license scheme. Children seeking attention are particularly distracting to parents driving.
2. Cell Phones. However used, some amount of attention is diverted, if only momentarily, to the phone. In Tennessee, it is not yet illegal to talk on the cell phone while driving. Dialing a hand held is akin to texting. Some states require hands-free usage only. This still requires mental attention.
3. Texting. Texting while driving is among the most dangerous activity. This is thought to be because it requires your eyes, your fingers and your mental attention. It is thus impossible not to look away from the road on a non-hands-free system. On average, a person looks away about four seconds per text. At 60 miles per hours, this takes you down the road a football field length or so!
4. Grooming. Lipstick application, grooming and mirror-checking is best left to stop lights.
5. Eating and drinking. It takes some attention to grab and dip each fry. I have even seen a guy eat a large bowl of cereal on the interstate.
6. GPS devices. Inputting information is basically texting.
7. Rubber-necking. This derisive term is applied to the inevitable accidents that occur in the lanes near an accident scene as people slow down to take a morbid look at the carnage. Deer, bear, coyotes, cougars or turkey near the road can also cause a pile up.
8. Stuff. Dropping things, like a cell phone, lip balm, or a map inevitably leads to the blind fumbling for it. Often, when you look back up, you may only see brake lights.
9. Pets. Fido has no regard for your safety, he just wants to be in your lap.
10. Sneezes. Some folks have caused accidents as they involuntarily closed their eyes while in a sneezing fit.
11. Bees or insects. Nothing is more distracting than a wasp on your nose or a spider on your face. One lady just jumped out of her car and the unpiloted auto kept giving the bee a ride while the former driver ran behind it and watched it drive into a tree. The bee appeared unhurt.
Share this with those drivers you care about.