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Distracted driving is more widespread than you think

Focusing on just one thing at a time is not easy in today’s world. You may even know a handful of people who peruse the internet on their smartphones while also watching TV or movies. While these types of behaviors might seem harmless, distractions become a lot more dangerous behind the wheel. Distracted driving is a serious and widespread problem that no one in Maryland is immune to.

Part of this problem is of course associated with smartphones. Many drivers seem unable to put their phones down and focus on the most important task at hand — driving. But distractions existed long before smartphones, and you might even be conditioned to see certain dangerous behaviors as normal.

The problem with smartphones

A study conducted in Jan. 2020 looked at Americans’ attitudes toward driving behaviors. Of the 2,000 participants, 37.1% said they agreed that using a phone while driving is not safe. The remaining 62.9% either disagreed or did not completely agree. This probably explains why you have likely seen your fair share of drivers on their phones.

Another 28.6% of study participants identified texting and driving as their top distracted driving behavior. However, over a third of the respondents said they think that texting and driving is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Other examples of distracted behavior via smartphone include taking photos, recording videos, responding to work emails and video chatting.

Different driving distractions

Eating or drinking behind the wheel might seem fairly normal in our fast paced world, so you might be surprised to learn that a driver’s risk of crashing increases eightfold when doing so. This is considered a manual distraction, which is something that requires a driver to take his or her hands off the wheel. Another manual distraction is petting an animal. It probably seems unsettling that out of the 80% of people who admit to regularly driving with their dogs only 17% use restraints.

Taking your eyes off the road is called visual distraction. A parent glancing at his or her child in the back seat is practicing a distracted driving behavior, as is someone who glances at a text message notification without even picking up the phone. The hardest one to spot is cognitive distraction. This is when a driver’s mind is on something other than the task at hand, like thinking about work problems or the grocery list.

Drivers under pressure

Work and social life are important but not so important that they should interact with one’s driving. But in that same 2020 study, nearly 60% of iPhone users said that there is tremendous pressure to reply to text messages immediately. A similar study from 2019 found that more than a third of people between the ages of 18 and 34 say they face pressure to immediately respond to work messages while driving.

There is never any reason to prioritize a text message, meal or video chat over the safety of everyone else on the road. Unfortunately, you now know the painful reality of surviving a distracted driving accident. Focusing on your recovery, dealing with medical bills and struggling without your regular income is nearly impossible without the right help. If you are ready to hold the other driver responsible for your injuries, be sure to reach out to an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process.