Distracted driving is much like drunk driving. It is a constant risk on the roads, and some people simply don’t understand or care about how their actions at the wheel could negatively affect others.
Driver awareness campaigns and improved safety education have helped make people more aware of the dangers of distracted driving, but these efforts have not noticeably reduced distracted driving crashes. If you ask the average person, they will readily admit that texting, reading emails or scrolling through social media while driving is a dangerous behavior.
However, some drivers will have special workaround systems that they think allow them to beat the system. What these drivers may not realize is that these so-called life hacks don’t decrease their risk as much as they might think.
Texting at a stoplight isn’t safe
While it is obviously unsafe to travel down the road with your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road, it is no safer to pick up your phone at a stop sign or red light. Researchers have found that the cognitive impact of screen use while driving lasts for nearly half a minute after you put your phone back down and start looking out the windshield again.
Drivers who only use their phones when they stop their vehicles on the road may not account for that lingering cognitive deficit and could still cause distraction-related crashes.
Talk-to-text is more distracting than people realize
Some people use talk-to-text software to respond to incoming text messages and emails at the wheel. In theory, hands-free programs comply with distraction laws, but the research shows that they aren’t as safe as people think.
In fact, drivers may feel more distracted because they need to check their dictated messages for errors. The drivers using hands-free systems may have an unreasonable sense of confidence that leads to more risk-taking and possibly a crash.
Even if the driver who hit you employed one of these tricks, their distraction could still be the primary cause of your recent collision. Identifying the likely cause of a motor vehicle collision and communicating that to law enforcement will put you in a better position to hold the driver responsible accountable for your losses.