A Closer Look at Distracted Driving

Today is Part 2 of our blog’s look at distracted driving in Michigan. In addition to Road Rage and Driver Fatigue, there are other reasons why distracted driving can be such a common issue that threatens the safety of motorist and pedestrians.

To put distracted driving into further context, it can further be defined in the following ways. First, distracted driving can involve visual mistakes, where the driver takes his or her eyes off the road. There’s a manual mistake where the driver removes their hands from the wheel. Finally there are cognitive mistakes which involve a driver taking his or her mind off driving. Think of the phrase my “mind wandered.” All can be extremely dangerous, and each type of mistake can be precipitated by any number of incidents or decisions. 

For example, there were more than 1.33 million car/deer accidents in the U.S. in 2018 according to State Farm Insurance, and we are no strangers to this scenario in many parts of Michigan. Visual, manual or cognitive mistakes, even for just an instant, can result in an accident if a deer jumps out in front of a vehicle. There are times when even the most alert driver will be powerless to stop an inevitable crash. However the split-second nature of these types of accidents can make any driver mistake that much more dangerous. Additionally any accidents involving visual, manual or cognitive mistakes may make it more obvious which driver was at fault.

Here are a few more examples:

Texting

One of the most common and talked about examples of distracted driving is texting or emailing while on the road. This is not only dangerous but is illegal in many communities. In fact, some places even make any non-hands-free action with your phone while driving illegal. Drivers should only talk or text hands-free by using voice commands if their vehicle offers this type of technology. Even then, having an active conversation in a hands-free mode can be considered a form of distracted driving that can be the cause behind an accident.

The National Safety Council reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year. Nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving. 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.

Collisions from Changing Lanes

The sudden or improper changing of lanes is another common cause for accidents in Michigan and is generally considered to be a type of distracted driving. Such accidents often occur on the highway and at high speeds. Furthermore, because of their sudden nature, the innocent driver usually has little or no time to take any preventative or countermeasure before being struck.

These changing lane collisions are addressed by Michigan law, which states that a driver who fails to see if a lane change can be made safely is in violation of the law. This puts a large burden on drivers who are forced to make split-second decisions, often at high speeds. It is a reminder that proper steps must be taken when changing lanes, including signaling your intention before turning from a direct line. In addition to these specific statutes on changing lanes, claims of general negligence might also be used to pursue compensation from an at-fault driver for improperly changing lanes.

Eating, applying makeup and any other “in-car” activity

We all lead busy lives so from time to time we may be rushed. However using our “drive time” to get specific tasks done, like personal grooming, eating, writing down notes from a phone call at red lights and more definitely fall under the “distracted” definition. Anything you do while driving that takes your focus off the task at hand is considered distracted and can wait.

The experienced attorneys at Bashore Green are experts with Michigan law regarding auto accidents and understand the various reasons why an accident is likely to occur. They represent clients injured in auto accidents due to another driver’s negligence every day and are committed to getting you the money you deserve if a serious injury has occurred.

If you or someone you know has been involved in a car accident due to someone else’s careless or malicious behavior, call the auto accident team at Bashore Green to discuss your legal options.

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