As a motorist, you likely do your best to stay focused on the road and your surroundings. Yet, other motorists may not treat driving with the same level of care that you do. They may think that giving in to the distractions in their presence – like cellphones, in-dash systems or chatty passengers – is harmless. But by taking their attention off the road, they run the risk of causing an accident.
Understanding what constitutes distracted driving
Three different types of distractions exist for drivers – cognitive, manual and visual. Cognitive distractions are those which take a driver’s mind off the task at hand. Manual distractions are those which take a driver’s hands off the wheel. And visual distractions are those which take a driver’s eyes off the road. All three types of distractions are dangerous, and some actions – such as texting – overlap between them.
Distracted driving, though, goes beyond texting and cellphone usage. Some other common forms include:
- Talking with passengers in your vehicle
- Eating or drinking while behind the wheel
- Focusing on scenery instead of the road
- Changing music or adjusting your global positioning system (GPS)
- Driving with earbuds in
Protecting yourself against distracted drivers
In Kentucky, it is illegal for motorists to text while driving. Motorists over age 18 can legally place calls on their cell phone while behind the wheel, yet those under age 18 cannot. Furthermore, motorists under age 18 cannot enter information into a GPS while driving.
Some motorists, though, routinely break these laws or engage in other distractions. If they are presenting a danger to other drivers, you will want to notify law enforcement officials. You will also want to stay as far away as possible from them, since distracted drivers may brake suddenly or make abrupt maneuvers that could put you – and other motorists – at risk. Keeping your distance, then, will give you time to respond and avoid an accident.
No matter how careful you are, it is possible that a distracted driver’s negligence has caused you harm. A personal injury attorney can help you weigh your options for pursuing compensation that is appropriate for your injuries.