You've likely encountered it before on a busy Louisiana highway: a driver steering with his or her elbows while trying to use thumbs to type a text message on a cell phone. This type of blatant driving negligence is menacing to all who share the road. Depending on immediate circumstances, you may be able to avert disaster by making a lane change or dropping back in traffic to increase the distance between your vehicle and the one with an apparently distracted driver behind the wheel.
That's not always possible, however, especially when traffic flow is moving at high rates of speed. Even if you see a potential danger ahead, you may not be able to react quickly (and safely) enough to avoid collision. If a distracted driver hits you, you may wind up lying on a gurney in the back of an ambulance. Who should be accountable for the expenses you incur in the aftermath of the accident? If you know where to seek support, you can take action to recover your losses.
Beware the deadly trio of distractions
Most driving distractions fall under one of three categories: cognitive, manual or visual. The following list provides examples of each, along with information that may help keep you safe:
- Distractions that are cognitive: Can you tell if another driver is lost in thought? This is an especially dangerous distraction because evidence of it is not always immediately apparent. If a nearby driver is daydreaming or using Bluetooth technology to participate in a business meeting while driving, the cognitive distraction greatly increases the risk for collision.
- Distractions that are manual: Do you recall the person who taught you to drive telling you to keep both hands on the wheel? It seems like basic knowledge; however, many serious collisions occur because drivers were reaching for objects, adjusting radio knobs or exhibiting other behavior that removed their hands from the steering wheel. You might not think it's a big deal to light a cigarette, take a sip of a drink or hand something to someone in the back seat while you're driving. However, each of these actions is a manual distraction that increases your risk for injury.
- Distractions that are visual: Hands on the wheel is a good first step toward driving safety. This should always be accompanied by keeping your eyes on the road. As a safe driver, you understand the importance of focusing on the road ahead and the vehicles sharing the road as opposed to staring at roadside billboards or other off-road scenes. Data also shows great danger in trying to read GPS instructions or other electronic devices, such as your favorite music playlist on an iPod.
Sadly, many Louisiana motorists are unable to survive their injuries in distracted driving accidents. If you remember your trip to the emergency room, it is likely your injuries were not life threatening; however, that doesn't necessarily mean you will have a swift and easy recovery. The last thing you need is to worry about medical bills or losing pay at work while you strive to get back on your feet following a preventable collision.
Others who have gone through similar experiences in Louisiana have alleviated their financial strain by seeking compensation for damages against those who caused their injuries.