Most people know to give a driver plenty of space when they have a phone in their hands or a blue glow coming up from their lap. The average person recognizes how dangerous distracted driving can be and wants to give someone engaging with their phone plenty of space on the road. Their failure to monitor their surroundings can lead to a crash that harms others.
Most motorists understand the risk and will do their best to avoid texting at the wheel. However, some people will pick up their phones at a red light to check a message or send a quick response to a friend, family member or employer. Although this may seem like a smart choice, it is riskier than people realize. Drivers may want to give those texting at an intersection plenty of space because they are at risk of causing a crash.
Distraction doesn’t end instantly
Contrary to what people sometimes assume, the human brain cannot redirect its attention instantaneously. It takes a while for the brain to begin properly focusing on driving again after digital distraction. Refocusing can be particularly challenging because of the huge amount of visual data coming in while someone drives.
Research into the cognitive impact of texting while driving has shown that texting at an intersection is not a viable solution. People may experience cognitive deficits that affect their focus and decision-making ability for an average of 27 seconds after they stop using a digital device. Even if someone puts their phone back down before a light turns green, they may not fully refocus until they have traveled a significant distance.
Drivers may want to yield to a motorist texting at an intersection or change their route to avoid driving in close proximity to that distracted driver. If someone who texted at an intersection goes on to cause a crash, the other people involved in the wreck may have grounds to take legal action against them. Those hurt in preventable collisions can file an insurance claim against a distracted driver. They may also be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in some cases.
Understanding what factors make someone a risk to others on the road may help drivers better minimize their personal risk levels. This understanding can also be helpful in determining liability in the event that a crash does occur.