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What Constitutes Distracted Driving?

Safely operating an automobile requires a considerable amount of skill and the full attention of the driver. And yet, as technology progresses and smart phones become the norm, more and more people are driving while texting, making a phone call, or even browsing the internet. It is no surprise that car accidents involving distracted driving are on the rise, too; some conservative estimates place distracted driving behind 50% of all traffic collisions. In order to prevent this problem, we first need to understand what constitutes distracted driving.

Three Forms of Distraction, One Big Problem

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are three main forms of distractions that reduce a driver's control of their vehicle.

  1. Cognitive: Anything that takes your mind off the task of driving
  2. Visual: Anything that takes your eyes off the road and your mirrors
  3. Manual: Anything that takes your hands off the wheel

While a simple act might seem harmless, the typical distraction affects you for five seconds. Depending on where you are or how fast you are going, five seconds is more than enough time to cause a devastating collision with another vehicle or the surrounding environment.

Common distractions that you should not engage in while your car is in motion include:

  • Using your cell phone for any reason
  • Eating and drinking
  • Adjusting your radio
  • Studying maps or GPS directions

Even the simple task of speaking with passengers in your vehicles can pose a cognitive distraction. If you feel like your conversation is causing you to forget your responsibilities on the road, it is best to ask the other people in your car to please refrain from talking to you until the car is stopped.

Even if you take all the necessary precautions to ensure you are not getting distracted while driving, it is an unfortunate truth that many other motorists are not. If you were involved in a car accident and the responsible driver was unreasonably distracted for any reason, you may be eligible to receive financial compensation. Contact me, Portland Car Accident Attorney Timothy Grabe, today. With my help and 30+ years of trial experience, you can rest assured in knowing that your case is being handled with care and professionalism.