Get a New Gadget for Christmas? Don’t Let It Distract You While Driving

The holiday season is here, which means everyone is receiving the latest and greatest for gifts. It is not uncommon these days for someone to receive at least one technological device, whether it is a smartphone, tablet, health tool, etc. However, if you have received a new gadget, avoid the temptation to use it in the car – even if it is designed for car use. Gadgets are the leading cause of distraction among drivers in the United States, and that new toy could actually put your life at risk.

How Gadgets Distract You

There are three types of distractions that a gadget brings: cognitive, visual, and auditory. When you are distracted by any one of these three sectors, you are no longer focusing fully on the road – and you are at a much greater risk for an accident.

  • Cognitive Distractions – Cognitive refers to how your brain interacts with a device. When you are mentally focusing on your phone or new device while driving – such as focusing on the conversation you are hearing from your hands-free MP3 player or talking on the phone – you are no longer cognitively focusing on driving. When driving does not have your full attention, you could be in a situation that is much more dangerous than you realize. You may not notice a serious level of distraction when traffic is moving smoothly and roads are free from obstacles — but what if that car in front of you suddenly brakes? Would your being distracted by your MP3 player affect your ability to react quickly?
  • Visual Distractions – This is when your eyes divert from the road to look at your device, whether that is reading the screen for a text message or even looking up a new song to turn on. Taking your eyes from the road even for a few seconds dramatically reduces your response time and you could even veer out of your lane without realizing it. Every driver has their own tolerance for distractions, but, regardless of your perceived tolerance, you should put the device away and only look at it when you are no longer driving.
  • Auditory Distractions – Sounds can also distract you. If you have music playing loudly or the kids are watching a DVD on their new entertainment system, you are distracted by those sounds in the vehicle. To be distraction-free, you need to silence these sources – which mean turning off the device or having those that are using them wear headphones so that you cannot hear it.

What Happens If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver?

While you know how to be responsible with those new devices you receive over the holidays, not all drivers are as diligent. If you are injured by a distracted driver, contact the attorneys at Horn Law today. We offer free consultations and can discuss the facts of your case to see if you are eligible for compensation. Call us at 816-795-7500 or fill out an online contact form with your legal questions.

AAA Releases New Study on Distracted Driving – and Results May Surprise You

AAA released a study recently that has shed new light on distracted driving. In this study, released earlier in November, AAA found that hands-free technology is just as dangerous as using the device itself. They say hands-free technology’s effects could linger for as much as 30 seconds after the task is complete; so, for example, 30 seconds after changing a song or sending text messages, your mind could still be occupied with the task, continuing the distraction.

More About the Study

The study specifically assessed the use of hands-free devices while driving. Traditionally, hands-free devices have been advertised as the safer alternative to using a device, and even some manufacturers will claim it reduces or eliminates distracted driving. In the study, they assessed the push-to-talk technologies found in the 2015 model year vehicles. They found potentially unsafe levels of distractions that can last as long as 27 seconds after completing the task itself. When driving at just 25 miles per hour, that amount of time will take you the length of almost three football fields.

This was the agency’s third phase of investigations, as they have been devoting their time to cognitive distractions. AAA has wanted to prove that hands-free devices are just as dangerous and can mentally distract drivers even when their hands are on the wheel and eyes on the road.

In the study, they also found that some drivers are distracted as much as 15 additional seconds after completing the task.  Just a few vehicles and hands-free technology that were assessed included:

  • Chevy Equinox
  • Mazda 6
  • Apple Siri
  • Microsoft Cortana

The Apple and Microsoft applications actually increased the distraction time more than the built-in units inside these vehicles.

Stay Safe, Glove Box Your Electronic Devices

While hands-free may seem safer, the reality is that it is just as dangerous as using the device in your hands. The only way to truly refrain from distraction is to not use a device that takes your cognitive abilities off the road. Simply glancing at a device can have lingering distractive effects that impact your ability to drive safely, putting more lives at risk.

If you have a hands-free device, never assume that it is safer. Instead, it is wise to “glove box” your phone, removing the temptation to engage in cell phone activity, even if it is hands-free.

If You Are Injured by a Distracted Driver

Despite this new study, there are still thousands of drivers who choose to use hands-free technology on a daily basis. After all, most states have not banned their use; therefore, drivers feel it is okay to continue using them. However, if a driver is distracted and it leads to recklessness, causing an accident, you can hold that driver accountable for their negligent behavior. Contact Horn Law today for a free consultation by calling 816-795-7500, or fill out an online contact form.

What are the Deadliest Distractions on the Road?

There is no doubt that distracted driving is dangerous. Those that are behind the wheel while talking on the phone, talking to passengers or engaging in behaviors that take their eyes off the road put everyone at risk – including themselves. Unfortunately, most drivers assume that texting or talking on the phone are the only forms of distracted driving. While these are the most common, there are several other dangerous (if not deadly) forms of distracted driving that all drivers should avoid.

The Most Dangerous Distractions

There are many other distractions that take a person’s eyes from the road. All it takes is a few seconds for a vehicle to veer out of their lane or even strike another vehicle or pedestrian.

Continue reading “What are the Deadliest Distractions on the Road?”