What are the Signs of a Distracted Driver?
Distracted driving has become a growing concern in the U.S., where it causes thousands of car accidents every year. While Florida lawmakers have responded to this trend by imposing harsher penalties for distracted driving, these crashes continue to occur at an alarming rate across the state. Being able to recognize the signs of distracted driving can go a long way towards helping motorists in Florida protect themselves and others. Even when a driver is unable to avoid such a collision, evidence that a driver was yawning or nodding off at the wheel could still be used to establish liability for the crash.
What Types of Behaviors Constitute Distracted Driving?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines distracted driving as anything that diverts a driver’s attention from driving and being able to respond to critical events. This can include everything from eating and drinking to texting or talking to passengers. Some of these distractions, like eating and drinking can be identified relatively easily, while others are a lot harder to spot. Cognitive distractions, for instance, which occur when a driver takes his or her mind off the road, often have no visual indicator of distraction.
Signs of Distracted Driving
Driving requires constant focus, so even a momentary distraction can have devastating repercussions. While we can all take steps to limit our own distracted driving behaviors, we can’t control the actions of others, so it’s a good idea to be able to recognize the signs of distraction and practice defensive driving in those instances. Some of the most common signs of distracted driving include:
- Erratic or inconsistent driving, like sudden braking, abrupt lane changes, or inconsistent speed, all of which could indicate that a driver isn’t paying full attention to the road;
- Failing to maintain lane position by drifting into other lanes, or crossing lane lines;
- Inattention to traffic signs and signals, which can manifest as running a red light, ignoring a stop sign, or failing to yield; and
- Slower reaction to traffic conditions.
All of these signs are good indicators that a driver is paying less than full attention to the task of driving. Those who recognize these signs in others can take steps to protect themselves, such as:
- Increasing the distance between vehicles to compensate for delayed reaction time;
- Remaining vigilant for unexpected driving behaviors, like swerving or braking;
- Changing their route;
- Pulling over and reporting the distracted driver to local law enforcement officers; and
- Avoiding confronting the driver, as this could cause the situation to escalate to a road rage scenario.
Unfortunately, even the most conscientious of drivers could end up injured by a distracted driver, in which case, he or she may need to provide proof of that distraction in order to receive compensation.
Reach Out to Our Legal Team Today
As longtime Tampa residents, the attorneys at Anderson & Anderson are only too aware of the dangers of driving on our city’s streets. If you were injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, please call 813-251-0072 and set up a meeting with one of our experienced Tampa distracted driving accident lawyers today.