Among the most frequent causes of injuries and fatalities in San Bernardino, California auto accidents are found in various forms of distracted driving. More than 400,000 people are injured in such accidents in the US, and more than 3,000 are killed, each year.
A driver is considered to be distracted any time his or her eyes, hands, or attention are removed from the task at hand for any reason. This means that you need to have both hands on your steering wheel, your eyes on the road, and your attention on the traffic situation and the processes involved in safely operating your vehicle.
Are You One of San Bernardino’s Distracted Drivers?
While many people imagine a distracted driver as someone who is texting or chatting with passengers, there are actually a lot more distracting behaviors than you might think. For example, one of the leading distracted driving behaviors is actually daydreaming! You could have your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road, and every intention of having your mind focused on the traffic; yet, without even being aware of what you’re doing, you could so easily start thinking of all your yesterdays and tomorrows, all your conversations, all your hopes and goals for the future, and not even recognize the fact that you’re distracted. You may very well think that you’re not one of the dangerous distracted drivers in San Bernardino, California, but you could be doing it without knowing you are.
Using your cell phone is a more obvious cause of distracted driving, and you certainly know when you’re doing it. What you might not know is that many people admit to being aware of the danger and using their cell phones anyway. Many others never admit it, and there’s a very high chance that you are one of the latter. You might think that you’re reasonably safe checking to see what text just came in or who is calling you. You might think you’re just glancing away for a moment. You may even think that you aren’t at risk for this behavior. Yet, cell phone, notifications, text messages, and calls are all extremely tempting for anyone to look at. And what feels like just a moment could be several seconds that you aren’t watching the road. It only takes one of those seconds to cause a traumatic collision.
It is also very common for drivers to talk to their passengers. In some cases, this is safe, as long as you aren’t engaged in an argument or overly distracted by the subject, but many people end up causing accidents due to passenger distractions. This is especially true when the passengers are arguing, when the driver turns to look at them, or when the passengers are children who might be misbehaving, shouting, asking questions, or trying to get out of their car seats.
Sometimes, distractions come from outside of your vehicle. Your attention might be drawn to reading a billboard or a sign. You might be paying so much attention to where a pedestrian is moving, in an effort to avoid hitting them, that you are distracted from other things on the road. You might even see an auto accident that draws your attention away from your own driving.
When it comes to distractions inside of the vehicle, there is more than just your passengers and your cell phone to think about. If you are grooming (makeup, hair, etc.) or eating something, this takes at least one hand away from the wheel and often your eyes and attention as well. If you are changing the radio station, you could be distracted. If you are reaching for something or trying to clean up a spill, then this is distracting, too. There might even be an insect in your car that is distracting you as you try to swat it away or get it out of the car. Some people also travel with their pets, which can create further distraction if the pet moves around.
You can minimize your likelihood of being a distracted driver in San Bernardino, California by paying attention to your thoughts to avoid daydreaming, turning off your phone to avoid temptation, asking your passengers to quiet down, and pulling over to address any immediate issues, like misbehaving (or car seat escaping) children or bugs in the car. Make sure that if you travel with animals, that they are secured where they cannot roam around in the car. Pull over to eat instead of eating while you drive, and be wary of distractions from outside the vehicle.
Always be aware that if you cause an auto accident because you are distracted for any reason, you can be found negligent in the auto accident claim. You could also end up killed or living with the effects of your distraction for the rest of your life. Nobody wants to survive an auto accident that they cause and which took the life of someone else. It is a traumatic situation that is difficult to mentally and emotionally recover from, not to mention the emotional trauma of being the person who has lost a loved one or sustained a life altering injury.
Were You the Victim in a San Bernardino, California Distracted Driving Accident?
If you were the victim in a San Bernardino, California auto accident that was caused by someone else’s distracted driving behaviors, then you can recover compensation for your injuries. You can get all of your medical expenses covered, seek compensation for any lost wages, and even get compensation for your pain and suffering and psychological trauma. If you lost a loved one in such an accident, you can get compensation for their medical expenses, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of companionship or consortium. This will never be enough to undo the damage, but it is still worthwhile to pursue the compensation you are owed. Call 1-800-HURT-NOW to seek a free consultation with a San Bernardino, California auto accident attorney today.