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Distracted Driving: Car Accidents

Living in beautiful Port Angeles, it’s sometimes easy to forget how drastically our lives may change in an instant due to something as commonplace as a car accident. In fact, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s annual reports revealed that in 2013, a car accident occurred every 5 minutes in our state. Even worse, an injury due to a car accident occurred every 12 minutes, and a person died due to a car accident every 20 hours. Those statistics alone make it clear that car crashes are a scary reality for all of us who drive in Washington.

As smartphones and other handheld devices have become more and more common, so too has the danger of distracted driving. We’ve all seen the public service announcements that encourage us to avoid texting and driving, and yet more and more people, especially teenagers, are using their devices while driving. In recent years, most of the fatalities caused by car accidents in Clallam County have involved a distracted driver. If you are involved in a car accident caused by a distracted driver in Port Angeles, WA it’s important that you seek help. The attorneys at McMenamin & McMenamin, PS are experienced, compassionate, and eager to help you get back to living your life after a car accident.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving can appear in many forms, but there are three main categories that most types of fall into:

Visual distraction happens when you take your eyes off the road.

Manual distractions occurs when you take your hands off the wheel.

Cognitive distraction is when your mind wanders and you’re no longer focused on driving.

Electronic devices like smartphones, GPS devices, and MP3 players are often a triple threat when it comes to distracted driving. When a driver uses a smartphone or other device while driving, his or her eyes, hands, and mind are all focused on something other than driving. Even if it’s only for a few seconds, the consequences of this kind of distraction can be devastating.

Causes of Distracted Driving

Even though we typically think of texting and smartphone use when we hear about distracted driving, there are a wide variety of causes behind this dangerous road behavior.

Distracted driving may be the result of:

Texting, calling, or other smartphone use. Some drivers may even try to search the internet, watch videos, or send emails while driving. Our devices may have made it easier to stay connected to family, friends, and work, but they can also steal our attention at critical times.

Using a GPS or navigation system, or reading a map or directions. It’s always a good idea to look at a map or driving directions prior to leaving for a road trip, as trying to operate a GPS or locate a turn on a map while driving can be extremely dangerous.

Conversations or interactions with passengers. Whether it’s simply a lively chat with friends, a child throwing a tantrum in the back seat, or a fight with a significant other, interactions with passengers can be a major cause of distraction for a driver.

Eating or drinking. Drive-through windows have made it easier than ever to grab a coffee or meal on the go, but trying to eat a burger while driving isn’t always the best idea.

Pets in the car. Pets are a part of the family for many of us, and we often load them into the car for a trip to the park or the vet. But animals that aren’t restrained can be a major distraction as they roam about the inside of the vehicle. They may block a driver’s view or even get under a driver’s feet and prevent them from hitting the brake.

Daydreaming. Have you ever found yourself pulling into the parking lot at work, only to realize you can’t remember anything from the drive there? It’s easy to daydream while driving a familiar route, but zoning out in the car can be deadly.

Events or objects outside the car. Have you ever passed the scene of an accident where everyone was slowing down in order to try and get a good look? Distraction while driving doesn’t have to come from inside the car–it may come in the form of something happening outside. Anything that pulls your attention away from the task at hand is a cause of distracted driving.

As you can see, distracted driving covers a wide variety of behaviors. Nonetheless, the widespread use of electronic devices has dramatically increased the likelihood of becoming distracted while driving. Young people can be especially prone to this bad driving habit, in spite of warnings and advertisements about the dangers of texting and driving. If you are in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, it’s important that you report the incident–not only to get the help and support you need to recover, but to make sure the other driver learns about this dangerous behavior before it’s too late.

Car Crash Lawyers in Port Angeles, Washington

Car accidents can cause serious harm to your vehicle, your wallet, and even your health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the attorneys at McMenamin & McMenamin, PS if you’ve been a car accident due to someone else’s recklessness. Visit our Port Angeles office at 601 South Race Street, give us a call at 360-452-9242, or email us at info@mcmenaminlaw.com to find out how we can help you get back to living your life.

Don’t let a distracted driver drain your emotional, physical, or financial well-being– seek help today by contacting McMenamin & McMenamin, PS. Our attorneys are knowledgeable, professional, and happy to stand by your side as you recover from your accident.

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