Identifying Distracted Drivers on the RoadA 50 year decline in motor vehicle fatalities has reversed course in the last several years due in part to the ever increasing use of mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, distracted driving crashes resulted in nearly 3,450 fatalities and 391,000 people injured.

You may have personally witnessed individuals attempting to multitask behind the wheel. Just as in any other state, there are plenty of distracted drivers on the road in Tennessee on any given day. Unfortunately, most of these drivers feel they can handle driving at fast highway speeds, or even at slower speeds on local residential neighborhoods, and simultaneously text on their phone.

However, it only takes a few short seconds of distraction, by texting, or any other means, for a tragic accident to occur. As a driver seeking to avoid an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, particularly if that driver is operating a motor vehicle while distracted, it is important to understand how to identify these drivers before you find yourself in a car crash.

Here are some indications of distracted driving to look for:

  • Drifting into center lines or shoulders. Lane markings make it easy to determine if a car is swerving. If you notice a vehicle is crossing over the center of its lane, even if it doesn’t quite cross the center lines, it may be an indication that the driver is distracted. It is wise to give that vehicle some additional space for error in order to avoid becoming the victim of a sideswipe or something worse.
  • Delayed start at intersections. Many times drivers take advantage of their stopped position at a red light to address a particular matter within the vehicle that is not related to driving. You can tell that a driver may be distracted at a red light if that driver fails to move when the light turns green. Such a case it is proper to tap your horn to alert the driver to proceed. As well, keep in mind that the driver may continue this distracting activity has he or she travels through the light and down the road.
  • Sudden braking. When a driver brakes suddenly instead of gradually slowing down, it can indicate the driver is distracted. This can occur when the driver approaches backed up traffic ahead and fails to gradually stop, only to slam on the brakes at the last second.
  • Driver wearing headphones. If you notice a driver wearing headphones while operating a motor vehicle, this also may be a sign of distraction. In such a case, the driver may be using the headphones to make a call or conduct voice to text messaging. However, regardless of the reason, it is safe to assume the driver is distracted and to take appropriate precautions.

The above signs can help you avoid becoming the victim of a car crash due to the negligence of another distracted driver. However, sometimes little can be done to avoid such negligence on the roadway and its consequences. Keep in mind that you do have legal options if you have sustained injuries as a result of a distracted driver.

Victims and their families are negatively affected by distracted driving activity every day. At the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm, we can help you recover the compensation you deserve if you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of another driver. To arrange a free consultation, call us today at 615.246.5549, use our contact form to send us a message, or visit one of our offices in Nashville, Hendersonville, or Knoxville.