What actions could be considered distracted driving in North Carolina?
Distracted driving is a significant danger to others on the road. It only takes a moment of distraction behind the wheel to cause a severe accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eight people in the United States are killed every day in crashes involving a distracted driver.
If you or someone you loved has been injured in a wreck, reach out to a North Carolina car accident lawyer to see what role distracted driving may have played. You may have a potential claim against at-fault parties, which would allow you to recover your losses if successful.
The Types of Distracted Driving
Anything that takes your attention away from driving is a distraction. Different types of distractions impact drivers in different ways. Some of the most common categories of driving distractions include:
Visual distractions are anything that takes your eyes off the road. Common examples behind the wheel include cell phones, passengers, and accidents or incidents on the side of the road. If a driver’s eyes are not on the road, they will not process what is happening around them as quickly as they may need to.
Manual distractions take drivers’ hands away from the wheel. Texting, eating, and reaching for something that has fallen to the floor are common examples. Keeping two hands on the wheel at all times is essential to ensure you maintain complete control over your vehicle.
Cognitive distractions are those that take a driver’s mind away from the task of driving. Daydreaming is the most common example. Drivers sometimes have long commutes. As a result, they may zone out while operating their vehicle and fail to notice they are drifting into another lane or not realize how close they have gotten to the car in front of them.
Examples of Distracted Driving
Drivers who are not focused on the road behind the wheel are often participating in similar activities. The most common examples of distracted driving include the following:
- Using a cellphone. Texting or talking on the phone behind the wheel plays a significant role in car accidents. Drivers fail to see what is happening around them when their eyes and minds are focused on sending a message or scheduling an appointment.
- Focusing on passengers. Children in the backseat, pets and even adult passengers create significant distractions for drivers.
- Adjusting controls. Today’s vehicles come with several features and technology that can make driving a more enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, many drivers don’t realize how dangerous it can be to change the radio station, set up Bluetooth, or even adjust the temperature controls while driving.
- Eating and drinking. It is no secret that people are busy. Dropping children off at school, running errands, and getting to work on time often means little time for meals. Some drivers try to get food in during commutes, but this takes a person’s eyes, hands, and mind away from the road.
- Grooming. Along with eating and drinking, some drivers try to take care of personal hygiene while driving.
While those are the most common examples of distracted driving, they are not the only types of actions contributing to negligent driving accidents. Other distractions while driving include smoking, daydreaming, rubbernecking, and using a GPS or smartphone. Experiencing a highly emotional state can also prevent a driver from devoting their full attention to the road, illustrating the importance of focusing entirely on the task of driving at hand.
The Consequences of Distracted Driving
An accident can occur when a driver is not paying attention to their vehicle, road, or car. When a crash involves multiple vehicles, the consequence can be severe — or even deadly. Many car accident victims we see are dealing with the following issues after a wreck:
- Medical bills. A single trip to the hospital can rack up thousands of dollars in medical bills. Additional costs are associated with follow-up appointments, medications, and any medical devices required for recovery.
- Lost wages. When a car accident victim is seriously injured, they often need to take time off work to recover. In some instances, they may never return to their previous position in the same capacity. Even one missed paycheck can seriously impact a person’s financial stability.
- Pain and suffering. Recovering from a car crash is often physically painful. The pain may be exacerbated if surgeries, extensive recovery, and physical therapy are required to return a person to their previous state of health.
- Emotional trauma. Auto accidents are traumatic. Victims often need professional counseling to cope with trouble sleeping, appetite changes, mood swings, depression, anxiety, and more. In some cases, accident victims are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), requiring extensive therapy and medication.
You shouldn’t have to suffer from an accident someone else caused. If you are recovering from a crash related to distracted driving, our attorneys are prepared to help you file a claim to seek compensation for your losses.
Preventing Distracted Driving
While anyone can find themselves driving distracted, young adult and teen drivers are most at risk. According to the CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance system, drivers aged 15 to 19 are more likely to be distracted than drivers of any other age group. Nine percent of all teens who died in motor vehicle crashes were killed in accidents involving distracted driving.
To reduce distracted driving crashes and encourage teens to drive safely, parents should talk to their teens about the rules and responsibilities involved in driving. They must understand the severity of their actions and what could happen if they stop focusing on the road and their vehicle for even a second.
Many states have also enacted distracted driving laws. In North Carolina, drivers under 18 are prohibited from talking on a cellphone while driving. Texting while driving is illegal for all drivers in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) also recommends drivers avoid eating while driving, program music devices before leaving, and designate front-seat passengers as “co-pilots” to avoid handling navigation systems.
Get Help From a Car Accident Lawyer in North Carolina
At Auger & Auger Accident and Injury Lawyers, our attorneys understand just how devastating a car accident can be for any family. If you have been injured in a crash and are now dealing with medical expenses, lost wages from time off work, pain and suffering, or other ramifications resulting from the wreck, we are here to help. Our attorneys are well-versed in car accidents and related laws in North Carolina, and we are prepared to uphold your rights.
Schedule a free, no-obligation with a North Carolina car accident lawyer today when you call (855) 971-1114 or contact us online.