What are the Most Common Driving Distractions in Chicago?

Vaping and looking at the phone while drivingEven though driving involves hurling thousands of pounds of metal at very high speeds along potentially narrow streets, among dozens of other drivers performing the same task, long-term vehicle operation can lead to complacency. It is easy to forget just how potentially dangerous the simple act of driving can be, and so people begin to take it for granted. Once this occurs, the potential for distraction increases, and certain distractions are far more common than others.

By far, the single most common distraction while driving is simple daydreaming or mind-wandering. While use of mobile phones or screaming children can certainly be distracting, an insurance company examined police reports and found that 62% of crashes caused by driver distraction were simply due to the driver being “lost in thought”. This is, perhaps, the ultimate example of complacency, as a driver fails to appreciate the responsibility involved in driving, allowing his or her mind to wander.

Use of a mobile phone, including talking, listening, and texting, accounts for 12% of distracted-driver accidents. In many states, including Illinois, it is illegal to text or operate a hand-held device while driving. You can legally use a hands-free device while driving, such as a phone with a Bluetooth connection or in a car with a built-in speaker phone, but even that can provide a distraction.

In 7% of crashes that involved distracted driving, a person or an object outside of the car was responsible for the distraction. This accounts for instances in which a driver pays attention to an accident by the side of the road or other occurrence happening outside the vehicle, and fails to remain aware of what is happening in front of him or her. Another 5% of crashes are caused by an occupant within the vehicle other than the driver. This includes children, often in the back seat, or passengers who distract the driver rather than let him or her properly operate the vehicle.

Reaching for a device in a vehicle makes up 2% of crashes caused by distraction, so even simply trying to grab a phone or headset in a car can result in a collision. Another 2% of crashes occur due to eating or drinking while driving, since even hand-held foods require attention and result in less control over the steering wheel. Adjusting climate or audio controls accounts for another 2% of crashes, which is why such settings should be changed or set only when a vehicle is stopped.

Using other controls in the vehicle, such as adjusting mirrors or seats, makes up only 1% of distracted crashes. Something moving in the vehicle, such as a pet or the sudden appearance of an insect, only accounts for 1% of crashes, and smoking cigarettes causes another 1% of distracted vehicle collisions. No matter what the cause, if you have been involved in a vehicle crash where the other driver was distracted, call the Chicago distracted car accident lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC at (312) 644-0444 today to discuss your case and ensure your rights are protected.