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Can people spot distracted drivers before it’s too late?

On Behalf of | Apr 22, 2024 | Distracted Driving

Distracted drivers are one of the biggest safety issues on the roads. Thousands of crashes every year take place because people focus on something other than driving while in control of a motor vehicle. Someone may do their best to be safe on the streets, but they probably cross paths with drivers who are less safety conscious every few minutes that they drive.

Some types of dangerous drivers are easy to spot. Aggressive drivers weave through traffic and tailgate, allowing others to easily avoid them. Drunk drivers may swerve all over and behave in an erratic manner, giving other motorists an opportunity to avoid them.

Is it possible for someone to spot a distracted driver before that motorist causes a wreck?

Distraction involves more than just a mobile phone

A driver’s ability to spot distraction in others depends on their understanding of what constitutes distracted driving. If someone has their mobile phone in their hands, others may be able to notice that in traffic. They can also potentially identify drivers looking down at their laps as likely distracted drivers.

Beyond that, there are other forms of distraction that can sometimes be readily apparent to others nearby in traffic. If someone is halfway through eating a cheeseburger, they may be too distracted to effectively monitor their surroundings. Eating and drinking can be as dangerous as using a mobile phone while driving.

People may also be able to spot those involved in an intense conversation from across an intersection. Someone gesticulating doesn’t have their hands on the wheel. Those embroiled in an emotional conversation with passengers or someone on the phone could easily fail to monitor their surroundings and might cause a crash.

If someone displays clear warning signs of distraction while driving, it makes sense to give them plenty of space. However, drivers who focus too much on monitoring what others do in their vehicles might become distracted themselves. People have to focus on all incoming traffic information, not just on the conduct of others in their vehicles.

Scanning traffic and giving more space to those obviously engaged in unsafe conduct can help someone to moderately reduce their risk of a motor vehicle collision. Drivers who know both risk factors and how to handle a crash if one occurs can enhance their safety in traffic.


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