Many people believe they can safely do other things while driving because these tasks seem small or simple. However, this misconception contributes to a significant issue in the U.S. known as distracted driving. Even small things like eating or changing the radio could be dangerous and lead to big problems.
Slow to react
In a research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving accidents increased by 12%. In 2020, there were 3,154 accidents, but this number went up to 3,522 in 2021. These numbers show how bad distracted driving can be. When drivers do more than one thing at a time, it might stop them from being able to:
- React fast to changes on the road
- Keep a safe speed and distance away from other cars
- Stay in their lane and not drift
- Look for possible dangers
- Predict and avoid problems with other people on the road
When drivers do many things at once, they could be less aware of their driving mistakes and have less control of their vehicles.
Dangers of multitasking
Some common multitasking activities that drivers engage in include:
- Eating a sandwich or other small meals
- Drinking coffee or other beverages
- Adjusting the radio or the car’s temperature
- Talking with passengers
- Putting on makeup or brushing their hair
Experts suggest drivers should look away from the road for only two seconds at a time, only if necessary. Exceeding this is risky, as taking your eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 mph covers the length of a football field. With such a large stretch of road covered, the risk of a crash significantly increases when drivers are not focused on the road.
After a crash, an injured person can seek compensation from the distracted driver. They might ask the driver to cover damages to their car, medical bills and wages they lost because they couldn’t work after the accident. Victims could do this by filing a personal injury claim against the distracted driver to obtain compensation for injuries sustained in the accident.