As a as an experienced personal injury attorney practicing locally in Allegheny County, throughout western Pennsylvania as well as in Florida, I work with many clients who have been in accidents caused by a distracted driver. This is becoming more of an issue, with so many people owning and using smartphones while on the road. Texting and driving is a known issue, and many states have passed laws against it. However, that does not mean everyone abides by these laws or avoids doing things like playing a game while stuck in traffic. This makes it necessary to be diligent while on the road and to watch out for those driving erratically.
A Few Signs You Should Watch for Include:
Erratically drifting in and out of lanes. This has long been a sign that someone is either distracted or intoxicated – both of which can be dangerous for you. If you see someone swerving, try to get behind them and stay far enough back that they cannot hit you if they swerve into your lane. Otherwise, try to safely get around them, though this may be more difficult to do. If you have a passenger in the car, you can have them call the police, as well.
Speeding up and slowing down. Most drivers can maintain a fairly steady pace. While they may adjust within a few miles per hour, drivers tend to not make any major changes unless the speed limit requires it. As an attorney, I warn clients that someone not keeping a steady speed is likely too distracted to know what they are doing, or is tired or intoxicated. Be cautious around this driver and try to avoid them.
Not responsive. All drivers should be active drivers, responding to changes in traffic signals, etc. If they do not respond like they should, there is a good chance that they are focused on something else and distracted.
Why Does This Matter?
After practicing as an attorney twenty plus years locally in Allegheny County, throughout western Pennsylvania as well as in Florida, I have learned that, I know that distracted driving accounted for 3,154 fatalities in 2013 and a staggering 424,000 injuries. Presumably, these numbers will continue to rise as more teens hit the road armed with a cell phone, push alerts, text messages, and their favorite games buzzing at them. The more people use electronics, the higher the risk of distracted drivers causing accidents. The old distractions like eating fast food and applying makeup have not gone away, so these new distractions only add to the problem. The best thing you can do is to have a conversation with everyone in your household about the dangers, so no one contributes to the problem. Next, you need to be diligent in practicing defensive driving. Defensive driving is different from both passive and active driving because it requires you to constantly scan the road looking for potential hazards. This includes things like a rolling garbage can and kids crossing the road, as well as drivers behaving erratically. If you notice someone acting that way, you should avoid them. This could save you and your family from potential injury on the road.