Most people on the road already know to watch out for drunk drivers. They will watch for signs of swerving or somebody driving in an erratic and unpredictable manner. Fewer people realize that distracted driving is almost as dangerous as drunk driving.
There are far more distracted drivers on any given roadway then there are drunk drivers. You run the risk of crossing paths with a distracted driver almost any time you go out on the road. Knowing the warning signs of distraction can help you avoid a potentially serious collision that could result in injury or even death.
Drivers should have their eyes focused on the road ahead of or around them
There are several different kinds of distraction, but visual distraction is a particularly dangerous one. Visual distraction involves taking your eyes off the road to look at something else. If you see a driver looking somewhere other than the road around them, it could be a warning sign of potential distraction.
Of course, drivers won't just stare straight ahead while monitoring the road. They will also need to look at their own mirrors and out the side windows of their vehicle. However, a driver looking at another passenger in the vehicle or down at their lap (and likely their cellphone) is not paying attention to the task at hand.
Watch out for any driver without hands on the wheel
Manual distraction is another dangerous form of distraction. People often think that if they travel the same routes to and from their daily destinations that they don't need to give the task of driving their full attention. This can lead to people eating at the wheel or adjusting their clothing. Some people even groom themselves, brushing their hair or applying makeup.
Taking your hands off the wheel when you drive is incredibly dangerous. It can add precious seconds to your reaction time as you engage with the wheel. If you see someone who is not driving with their hands on the wheel, that is probably a vehicle you want to give a wide berth.
Mental distraction is likely the hardest to notice
Unfortunately, the most common form of distraction is also the hardest to pinpoint. Mental distraction involves people daydreaming or thinking about anything other than the task at hand. It is incredibly common and it can lead to major collisions and crashes. While you can't necessarily spot someone whose mind is focused elsewhere, knowing that mental distraction is a risk can help motivate you to keep your eyes and mind on the road.
If you believe distraction played a role in a crash, you should always speak up. Let law enforcement know so that they can verify if distraction played a part by checking cellphone records and traffic cameras. This can protect your right to seek compensation in the future.