Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Distracted driving: It's more than just texting

While texting is vilified for being a distraction behind the wheel, there are many other kinds of distractions that can put your life at risk while you are driving. Not getting enough sleep, eating, putting on makeup, talking on a cellphone and other actions are all potential hazards.

Not all distractions are equal. Some are more dangerous than others. For example, turning the radio on or off may take only a second, while sending a text takes an average of five. The longer you look away from the road, the more dangerous you become. Here are a few more things to consider.

1. Looking at the road isn't paying attention

Looking at the road isn't the same as paying attention to the road. It's possible to watch the road and to be daydreaming or thinking about something else that takes your mind off what you are doing.

2. Speaking can become a distraction

Many people think that drivers can stay more focused by using voice-activated devices such as Apple's Siri. The truth is that the more a person has to consciously think about what he or she says, the more likely he or she is to be distracted. As a phone conversation becomes involved or a conversation in the vehicle becomes heated, it's more likely that the driver won't focus on the road appropriately.

3. Texting is extremely dangerous

Texting is emphasized as a danger behind the wheel because of the heightened risk of a crash. A person who drives a truck while texting is at 24 times the risk of getting into an accident. The more a person texts, the higher the likelihood of a crash becomes.

It is important that people pay attention to the road when they're behind the wheel. It is not fair to put other people's lives at risk for a conversation that can wait or an action that you could pull over to complete. If you're injured by a driver who was distracted, your attorney can help you file a claim.

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