Whether heading home from work, taking a trip to the store, or simply embarking on a Sunday afternoon drive, there’s always a risk of a collision during your daily routine. Everyone knows drinking and then getting behind the wheel is a major problem, but there’s a surprising fact many drivers aren’t aware of—you are more likely to be hit by a distracted driver than a drunk driver.
While speeding and alcohol account for a large portion of Philadelphia crashes with fatalities, distracted driving is a major contributing factor to many accidents. When you’ve been the victim of a distracted driver’s negligence, it’s in your best interest to seek an attorney's help in bringing a claim to insurance or filing a case against the at-fault party.
Why Distracted Driving Is a Serious Danger
Anytime attention is drawn away from the road, crashes are bound to happen. Besides taking a driver’s eyes off the flow of traffic, distracted driving also reduces overall reaction time—making it more difficult to avoid a collision in any circumstance. When dealing with a heavy vehicle traveling at a high speed, every single second counts.
The term “distracted driving” likely makes you think of sending text messages or checking social media on the phone. Texting while driving is in fact illegal in Pennsylvania, but it is by no means the only form of distracted driving. Plenty of behaviors that aren’t specifically banned by law can still cause distractions and lead to a collision. These are the most common causes of distracted driving:
- Applying makeup or self-grooming such as brushing hair or teeth
- Bringing pets such as a dog or cat on your drive
- Conversing with passengers or dealing with rowdy children
- Daydreaming about other situations instead of focusing on the road
- Eating a meal or snacks while driving
- Inputting a new destination to a GPS unit
- Looking away from the road to search for an object in the vehicle
- Having a phone conversation, with or without a hands-free device
- Swapping out CDs or adjusting the radio
- Texting while driving
- Using one hand for sipping a drink or smoking
- Watching scenery or reading signs
In all of these cases, a driver may stop paying attention to the street or highway long enough to cause a collision. All of these distracting behaviors can also be made worse by other risky behaviors, like driving while tired.
Consequences of Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is typically thought of as an issue with new teen drivers, and in some cases, the numbers support that belief. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has revealed that more than 60% of multi-vehicle crashes involve younger, more easily distracted drivers in the 16 – 21 age range. However, distracted driving affects drivers of all age ranges, and is fairly evenly spread across ages in single-vehicle collisions.
That's why it's important to be on the lookout for signs of other distracted drivers, as well as to follow simple practices for avoiding distracted driving, like parking to make a phone call or letting a passenger handle navigation. If an accident does happen, distracted driving can be responsible for all of the major crash types including:
- Angle collisions (one vehicle hitting the side of another vehicle)
- Head-on crash
- Rear-end crash
- Colliding with a pedestrian
A distracted driving crash can additionally cause any number of injury types, from broken bones to spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries with life-long repercussions. Regardless of the age of the drivers or the level of injury involved, your best course of action after seeing a doctor is to consult with an attorney to assess your options.
A skilled personal injury attorney can investigate the accident and find evidence to prove distracted driving contributed to the crash. Showing negligence on the part of the at-fault driver is required to seek compensation for your medical bills and loss of work. A lawyer with experience in Philadelphia auto laws can comb through police reports, cell phone records, eyewitness accounts, and other evidence to help you recover damages either through a settlement or taking a case to court.
Were You in a Collision Caused by a Distracted Driver?
Starting a consultation with an attorney is critically important to protecting your right to compensation after sustaining an injury in a car crash. If you or a loved one were injured because another driver was distracted and didn’t pay attention to the road, get in touch today.