Navigating West Virginia roadways can be challenging. In fact, you’ve likely had moments while driving where you wished you were just about anywhere other than trying to safely maneuver through traffic to reach your desired destination. Aggressive drivers make travel time all the more stressful. Distracted drivers, as well, increase the danger risk and chances of you being involved in a collision.
Avoiding distraction at the wheel isn’t always easy. If you have one or more passengers in your vehicle, casual conversation or needs of children in the backseat can quickly take your focus away from the task at hand. As a skilled and experienced driver, you understand the importance of remaining alert, cautious and focused every time you get behind the wheel.
Visual focus is a top priority
When a driver is traveling in a forward direction but is staring at something on the side of the road, in the backseat or elsewhere, he or she is visually distracted. Even glancing at a GPS device or radio dial is enough to cause momentary distraction. Any time a driver takes his or her eyes off the road, the chance of collision greatly increases.
Both hands on the wheel at all times
When you learned to drive, or if you’ve taught someone to drive, you’re no doubt familiar with the saying that you should keep both hands on the wheel at all times. Manual driver distraction is a common cause of many serious motor vehicle collisions in West Virginia and beyond.
You might think it’s a big problem to reach into a pocketbook or to change the station on the radio while driving. These are manual distractions that could lead to disaster. Many drivers continue to text or use hand-held cell phones, even when there are laws to prohibit such behavior.
Distracted thinking is dangerous while driving
Did you ever get into an argument with your spouse or friend and have trouble concentrating the next day? Instead of focusing on a task at hand, the details of the previous day’s events keep replaying themselves over and over in your mind? If this happens while someone is driving a car, it causes cognitive distraction that takes a driver’s thoughts away from driving, which is highly dangerous.
Daydreaming, multitasking by participating in workplace meetings via Bluetooth technology or running through a to-do list in your mind are issues that place you and everyone nearby at risk for collision. Many people who have caused serious, if not fatal, motor vehicle collisions have later said they were “lost in thought” when their accidents occurred.
If a distracted driver causes damages
You might be able to notice signs of distracted driving if you see someone using a cell phone at the wheel or staring at a roadside scene. However, it’s impossible for you to know what another driver is thinking. Even if you witness suspicious driving behavior, you may not be able to react swiftly or safely enough to avoid a crash.
When a West Virginia driver causes a collision that results in another person’s injuries, the state allows the recovering victim to seek restitution for damages in a civil court.