You know a distracted driver when you see one. Maybe it's a man on his cellphone who weaves all over the road while he talks. Maybe it's a teenage girl who keeps looking down and texting her friends. Maybe it's a group of college students on a road trip, laughing and talking and singing along with the music. Or maybe it's someone's elderly parent trying to fight with the GPS while still driving along in afternoon traffic.
None of these things are good. They're all distractions, as are things like drinking coffee, eating breakfast, doing your makeup and a thousand other activities that people engage in behind the wheel. But they may not be the worst. Do you know what some research indicates is one of the biggest distractions? Your children.
Kids and phones
Cellphones often get labeled as the biggest distractions, and with good reason. You cannot very well drive with one hand on the wheel, your eyes on the phone and your mind on what to write in that text message. People get injured or killed day after day in the resulting accidents.
However, one study found that kids are even worse, stating that "driving with kids in the car is roughly 12 times more distracting than talking on a cellphone."
3 young children
The key point in the study was a woman who had three young children in the car with her. None of them were over 3 years old. She kept glancing over her shoulder at the kids to tell them to behave or to look at the newborn and make sure they were positioned correctly in the seat.
One researcher said that, for a period of roughly 120 seconds, she had her eyes on the kids and off of the road for about half the time. The researcher added that it was this visual distraction that was most hazardous, noting that: "You can talk, you can sing, you can do all those kinds of interactions with your kids while you're driving, but you need to keep your eyes on the forward roadway."
Parents should naturally become the safest drivers in an effort to keep their children safe, and that's often what they're trying to do -- as evidenced by the woman checking on the newborn's position, for instance. Her intentions look good. Unfortunately, looking back for that long puts the kids in far more danger than almost anything else a driver can do.
Did you get hurt in an accident with a distracted driver? Did one of your children suffer injuries? If so, you need to know how to seek financial compensation.