Distracted driving is a major contributor to motor vehicle accidents in New York. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that distracted driving in the United States caused 3,522 fatalities in 2021.
To help combat distracted driving, it’s illegal to use a hand-held mobile telephone or portable electronic device while driving in New York. But distracted driving accidents continue to occur.
Motor vehicle accidents with distracted drivers can have severe consequences. There’s the possibility of injuries, property damage or fatalities. You can possibly protect yourself by watching for distracted drivers. Recognizing some of the behaviors exhibited by distracted drivers can help.
Talking with a passenger
Driving while talking is a huge distraction. Perhaps the driver is having an argument with their passenger. Or maybe they’re paying attention to someone in the backseat. A friendly conversation can even distract a driver. If you see a driver engaged in lively conversation, it means they’re likely not paying attention to the road.
Taking their eyes off the road
A driver who is looking down is probably looking at a cell phone or other electronic device. It’s also possible that they’re reaching for something on the floor or in the passenger seat. This is a sure sign that the driver is not paying attention to the road.
Eating or drinking
A driver who is eating or drinking is more focused on what’s in their hand. The second it takes to grab a drink or bite to eat can result in a major accident.
A distracted driver might drive erratically. For example, they might frequently slow down or speed up for no apparent reason. Or, they might randomly use their brakes to stop and start for no clear reason. It’s possible they’re driving this way because they’re not paying attention to the road.
The above signs can indicate a distracted driver. But even if the driver isn’t distracted, it’s always a good idea to stay vigilant.