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How dangerous is it to use a smartphone while driving?

Ohio auto accident attorneySome people say they are so good at driving they can look at their smartphones without creating a safety risk. Research shows they are only fooling themselves and posing a risk to their lives and everyone sharing the road.

Distracted driving is very dangerous and a common factor in car accidents in Ohio, western Pennsylvania and across the country. Smartphones, which allow users to watch video, check social media, send email and texts and more, have become one of the most common sources of distraction for drivers. Psychology Today reports on new research into drivers and their phones.

Here are some of the findings:

  • Attitude toward phones: Young drivers understand that using smartphones behind the wheel is dangerous, but they feel staying connected with friends and family outweighs the risks.
  • Illusion of control: People who think they are good drivers falsely believe they are able to safely text behind the wheel.
  • Influence of peers: Young people who see friends or family members texting while driving tend to develop these unsafe driving habits.
  • Use of hands-free phones: Many new cars allow drivers to use voice commands. They can have phone conversations or even speak to text. While it might seem like a safe alternative, hands-free technology creates a driver distraction that can increase the risk of an accident.

Other types of driver distractions

Driver distraction, of course, is not a new problem. As Psychology Today puts it, a distraction is defined as a "shift in driver concentration toward a secondary task, leading to a deviation of attention from driving."

Researchers break down distractions into different categories:

  • Visual: Anything that causes a driver to take his or her eyes off the road, such as looking at a smartphone or turning to look at a passenger or scenery away from the road.
  • Manual: Taking hands off the wheel to engage in tasks like changing a radio station or picking up an item off the car floor.
  • Cognitive: Getting lost in thought, such as daydreaming or contemplating an upcoming meeting at work.

How to avoid distracted driving

Drivers need to keep their focus on the task of driving the car. They should avoid using a phone while driving. If necessary, they need to pull over to a safe location and use the phone while the car is stopped.

Unfortunately, some drivers will continue to believe they can text, check social media or do any number of activities on the phone while driving. If they cause an accident, they should be held accountable.

Many accident victims find themselves in an uphill battle against the insurance companies of at-fault drivers. Insurance companies may attempt to downplay the injuries. They may deny the driver who caused the crash was distracted. They're a profit-making business, and that means they will use all kinds of methods to keep payments to a minimum.

At Gervelis Law Firm, our experienced personal injury lawyers know about the insurance company tactics. We fight aggressively on behalf of accident victims to make sure they're treated fairly and receive the compensation they deserve. Make the smart choice. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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