Most of us know that fiddling around with a cell phone while driving is dangerous, and many states, including Colorado, have laws prohibiting adult drivers from using their phones to text while behind the wheel. However, many more believe that using a hands-free device is a safe method to continue to go about your business while driving. According to several studies conducted by many universities and organizations, this is actually far from the truth. While a hands-free device will make it easier to operate a vehicle, we use more than our hands to drive.
What Is Distracted Driving?
Why is using a hands-free device dangerous? Your brain is still distracted, regardless if you are holding the phone in your hands or not. While we often associate distracted driving with visual distractions like looking at our phones or other people in the car, cognitive distractions are distracted driving too, and involve anything that takes your mind off driving. Your eyes might be on the road and your hands might be gripping the wheel, but if your mind is focused on your conversation rather than on driving, your reflexes will not be as sharp and you will not be as aware of your surroundings as you should be.
Another part of the problem is the psychology of hands-free devices. “Hands-free” inherently sounds safer, which sends a message to our emotionally-based risk assessment system that by using a hands-free device, we are in control and minimizing risks. You are no less distracted than a person holding a cell phone, but more dangerous since you believe you are using a safer method. According to a 2010 analysis by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), hands-free laws that took effect in various states and the District of Columbia remained the same or rose slightly. Essentially, a law that was intended to make the roads safer had the opposite effect.
The National Transportation Safety Board recommended a complete ban on the use of cellphones while driving, regardless if it is a hand-held or hands-free device. In fact, many large companies already forbid employees from talking on cell phones while driving for liability reasons. Of course, although blanket laws like this do not exist, it does not mean you cannot do your part to keep the roads safe by refraining from using your cell phone while driving.
How To Tell If Someone Is Distracted
Even if you practice safe driving by not using a phone—hands-free or not—on the road, you can’t control the decisions and actions of other drivers. It’s important to know the signs of a distracted driver so you can maintain a safe distance from them or take another road entirely to avoid a potential accident.
Some signs that a driver is distracted or on their phone include:
- Driving far below the speed limit
- Blinkers left on after a lane change
- Vehicle is swerving erratically
- Vehicle is slowly drifting into another lane
- You can see the driver on their phone or gesturing while speaking
- Driver is looking down or away from the road while driving
- Vehicle is traveling too closely behind another vehicle (tailgating)
If you’re driving in front of a distracted driver who is too close behind you, you may wish to change lanes to avoid being rear-ended. Drivers who aren’t paying attention take a longer time to brake or slow down.
Call For Help in Colorado Springs
At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, our team of skilled Colorado Springs car accident attorneys is here to help if you or a loved one was injured in a car accident. Our attorneys are backed by more than 120 years of collective experience, which we can put to use for you to secure maximum financial compensation. Members of our team are also in the exclusive Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, which accepts only 1% of attorneys in the country for their accomplishments. Our awards as a firm mirror our commitment to giving our clients the individualized attention they deserve after a traumatic experience like a car crash.
Fill out our form online or call us at (719) 602-5888 to request an initial consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys after being injured by a distracted driver.