As long as someone is on their smartphone in the car, they are distracted. They may be holding the phone in their hand, which is a manual distraction. They may be looking down at the screen or thinking about their conversation, which can be a visual or a cognitive distraction.
Many drivers are well aware that using the phone in the car makes it more likely that they’ll get into an accident. What they decide to do is to only check their phone if they’re at a stop sign or a red light. Then they put the phone back down and start driving, assuming that this means they’re doing so safely. They are never on the phone while the car is moving.
The distraction remains
But what studies have found is that the distraction actually remains for the next 27 seconds, on average, even after a person stops using their phone. They are more likely to cause a crash for about half a minute – as they drive away from that red light, for instance – than if they hadn’t used their phone at all.
Much of the issue is mental. People who are on the phone are devoting some of their mental energy to a conversation, a social media post, an email or something else of this nature. They’re thinking about something other than driving the car, and they don’t just immediately turn that off when they set the phone down. It takes a while for the brain to focus on driving again, meaning that the driver is still a significant risk compared to those around them.
Have you been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver? If so, be sure you know how to seek financial compensation.