Using your phone in the car is certainly a source of distraction. It may be the most common reason for distracted driving accidents, if only because the phone can be used for so many different things – sending text messages, setting up a GPS, choosing what music you want to listen to and much more. A phone can check all three boxes for the CDC’s three main types of distracted driving, all at once.
But what people sometimes believe is that it’s distracting when they’re on their phones, and this distraction ends when they put that phone down. This is why they will check their phone at stoplights, for example. As long as the car is stopped, they feel like it’s safe to allow themselves to be distracted for a moment. When the light turns green or the cars around them begin driving, they put the phone down.
27 more seconds
But the problem here is that distraction actually lasts for about 27 seconds, even if you’ve already put your phone back down and you’re done with whatever activity you were engaging in. As you start driving away from that red light, your mind is still on that task or whatever information you were considering – the contents of a text message, the video you were watching, etc. You can’t break this mental distraction nearly as quickly as you can physically set the phone down.
As such, drivers will still often make mistakes, especially at intersections. Someone might drive when it’s not their turn if it’s a four-way stop, or they may make the wrong call when trying to decide if it’s safe to turn left through a blinker. These drivers are still distracted and they’re not quite thinking clearly, so they make errors that they wouldn’t make if they hadn’t looked at the phone in the first place.
Have you suffered serious injuries?
If you do suffer injuries in one of these accidents, you may be able to seek compensation for your medical bills and other costs.