Beware of distracted drivers!

When you obtained your first valid driver's license, you were likely especially cautious behind the wheel. New and inexperienced drivers are typically very alert and attentive to their surroundings as they traverse Alabama roadways. As time goes on, however, most motorists tend to relax their standards, which can lead to serious driving problems and an increased risk of injury. Distracted driving is highly problematic in Alabama and nationwide, and all drivers (novice or experienced) should be aware of such dangers in order to keep themselves and all who share the roads safe.

No matter how well you adhere to posted speed limits and traffic regulations, there's little you can do about the way someone else drives. Understanding the three basic types of driving distraction, however, may keep you on the lookout for potential trouble, and possibly help you avoid a collision.

What you think, say and do matters

Although many people think of driving merely as a physical activity, there's actually a lot more to it than that. In fact, where distracted driving is concerned, there are basically three types of distraction that place motorists and pedestrians in harm's way. Keeping the following in mind when you drive or ride as a passenger may help you prevent disaster:

  • Many motorists are visually distracted behind the wheel. They're looking at billboards or other off-road advertisements and signs, or otherwise taking their eyes off the road. Glancing at GPS devices, checking hair or make-up in a rear-view mirror, or reading text messages while driving are common factors in many visual distracted driving accidents.
  • A driver may also be manually distracted. You may be surprised how many people cause serious collisions because they were eating or drinking while trying to drive. Turning radio knobs, lighting cigarettes and using your hands for anything other than steering are manual distractions that pose dangers to yourself and all others nearby.
  • What's on your mind while driving? Hopefully, your thoughts are focused on the task at-hand. Those who daydream, think about life problems, or act under the influence of drugs or alcohol, may be cognitively distracted and/or impaired, greatly increasing chances that an accident will occur.

If you see signs of distracted driving in your vicinity on the road, it's best to safely distance yourself from the motorist or motorists, if possible. Often, distracted drivers will weave in and out of their lanes, hit their brakes at inappropriate times, or fluctuate speed that does not align with current traffic flow. If a distracted driver hits you, the most important immediate issue is obviously to seek medical attention for your injuries. Beyond that, it's helpful to know where to seek support in recovery.

Distracted driving accidents can lead to a variety of economic and non-economic damages, including emotional pain and suffering, as well as potential wage loss and medical expenses. A personal injury attorney can provide information regarding the maximum amount of compensation available in a particular situation. This type of advocacy often helps accident victims obtain favorable settlements or verdicts.

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