A phone is a common example of driver distraction. Drivers are supposed to hold the wheel, which they cannot do if they’re holding the phone. They’re supposed to look at the road and the traffic around them, which they cannot do if they’re looking down at the screen. They’re even supposed to be thinking about driving, which they’re not doing if they’re thinking about the contents of a text message or a social media profile.
The above are examples of the three main types of distracted driving. Cell phones cause all of them, which is why they lead to so many accidents.
Drivers sometimes try to avoid this by using their phones in situations that they deem safe. For example, a driver may understand that it’s risky to use the phone while the car is in motion. If they get to a red light, that’s when they think that it is safe to use their device. However, studies have found that this isn’t true.
The next 27 seconds
What these studies have actually discovered is that driver distraction continues even after they stop using the device. The driver may no longer be visually or manually distracted, so it looks like they’ve returned their attention to the road. But they’re still cognitively distracted for about 27 more seconds, meaning that there are higher odds of them causing a car accident at this time.
The best way for people to stay safe is to avoid using the phone entirely as long as they’re in the car. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen in all cases. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, you need to know about your legal options.