Distracted driving means more than just talking, texting

When most people hear the term "distracted driving," their thoughts automatically turn to smartphones, specifically motorists talking and texting while navigating the roads and highways.

While it's certainly true that smartphones and other electronic devices pose a very real safety risk -- a fact evidenced by Wisconsin's universal ban on texting while driving -- it's important to understand that distracted driving can take other forms, including certain activities that many people would otherwise consider innocuous.

According to experts, distractions behind the wheel can take three forms:

  • Visual: This means removing your eyes from the road ahead and immediate surroundings. By way of example, consider looking in the rearview mirror to apply makeup or looking at the radio to find a certain station.
  • Cognitive: This means thinking about everything else but the road ahead and immediate surroundings. By way of example, consider using a hands-free headset to have an intense conversation with a friend or family member.
  • Manual: This means removing your hands from the wheel, effectively discounting the road ahead and immediate surroundings. By way of example, consider eating fast food while driving on the interstate.

In the event that a person might be tempted to disregard the danger posed by distracted driving in any of these forms, consider that experts have found that when a person takes their attention away from the road for less than five seconds while traveling at 55 miles-per-hour -- perhaps to adjust their hair or unwrap a hamburger -- they will have traveled over 100 yards, an entire football field, effectively blindfolded.

In addition, consider that statistics show there were 24,089 motor vehicle accidents caused by distracted driving in Wisconsin just last year, meaning there was a distracted driving-related crash every 22 minutes.

It's important for those who have been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a distracted driver to understand that they have options for seeking both justice and peace of mind. Indeed, a skilled legal professional can answer their questions and pursue the necessary action.

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