A Proven Leader In Montana Personal Injury Law

Common distractions that can lead to a car crash

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Distracted driving accidents are a harrowing reality on every road in the U.S. From bustling city streets to quiet suburban neighborhoods, distractions pose a significant threat to drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Whether you’ve been rear-ended by a driver texting or broadsided by someone lost in conversation, the immediate aftermath of a distracted driving crash can be overwhelming. That said, you are better off understanding how these distraction-causing factors can impact your legal case.

Visual distractions

Visual distractions are perhaps the most obvious form of distraction, yet they remain alarmingly common. These occur when a driver takes their eyes off the road, even for a split second. In the heart of cities, where the cityscape is a constant visual feast, the temptation to look away from the road is ever-present. Whether glancing at a vibrant billboard, checking a GPS device or even rubbernecking at an accident scene, these momentary lapses in visual attention can have catastrophic consequences.

The danger lies in the distance a vehicle can travel in those brief moments of inattention. At highway speeds, a car can cover the length of a soccer field in just a few seconds – more than enough time for traffic conditions to change dramatically.

Manual distractions

Manual distractions occur when removing one or both hands from the steering wheel. In a city where eating on the go is often a necessity due to busy schedules, activities like reaching for a coffee cup or unwrapping a sandwich can become perilous endeavors behind the wheel.

Other common manual distractions include adjusting the radio, reaching for items in the backseat or the ever-present temptation of texting while driving. The danger of manual distractions lies in the reduced control over the vehicle. In urban environments with frequent stops, turns and merges, having both hands on the wheel can be the difference between avoiding an accident and becoming part of one.

Cognitive distractions

These are the most insidious of all distractions and occur when a driver’s mind is not fully focused on the task of driving. Cognitive distractions can take many forms – from engaging in deep conversations with passengers to daydreaming about work stress or family issues.

A driver may have their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel yet still fail to process critical information about their surroundings. This “inattention blindness” can lead to missed traffic signals, failure to notice pedestrians or delayed reactions to sudden changes in traffic flow.

Navigating any motor vehicle accident case requires legal knowledge and experience. As such, seeking personalized feedback from a professional as soon as possible after a wreck is generally wise.