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.