When discussing injury cases with clients and potential clients, and it's amazing how many accidents are the result of distracted driving. Unfortunately, due to the long nature of many Southern Californian's commutes, many people leave work overworked and tired and have an hour or more of stop-and-go traffic ahead of them. According to the US Department of Transportation at any given moment there are over 660,000 people manipulating a smart phone at any given moment. As scary as that statistic may be, distracted driving can certainly be avoided on your part, and there are several indicators that a driver near you is driving distracted.
What To Look For
Similar to spotting drunk drivers, distracted drivers are often driving above or below the normal speed of traffic. Commonly a driver who is manipulating a smart phone is driving slower than the traffic around them. Driving too slow can be a hazard to everyone on the road. Of course, many distracted drivers drift out of their lane veer into another and cause a car crash.
Distracted drivers are also known to have unpredictable spacing between the cars around them. For example, they might not catch the green light until the cars in the neighboring lane have gone leagues ahead, or they speed up and then slam on their breaks quickly. If you're driving at night and see someone with their blinker on for a prolonged period of time, take caution. Similarly, distracted drivers may forget to turn their headlights on, or may not turn their lights on all the way. Distracted drivers may also use their overhead lights on to more easily manipulate their smart phone while driving.
What To Do
Using an abundance of caution, you should avoid getting too close to the driver you suspect is using a smart phone while driving. Pass the car when it is safe to do so, but don't try to force the driver to pull over or take matters into your own hands. I often honk at the driver I notice using their smart phone in an attempt to bring their eyes to the road. If you're a passenger in a car that sees someone who is most likely driving distracted, it is appropriate to give the fellow driver a massive stink eye but most importantly recognize that your fellow driver is distracted and a hazard on the road.
GET A POLICE REPORT
You may assume that if you were hit by a distracted driver, you won't be found at fault for the accident and your insurance will "take care of it." Unfortunately, rarely is it that simple. First, you should get a police report and specifically request that your observations of the driver's distracted state of mind be noted on the report. If you are injured by a distracted driver, every bit of information that clarifies that you were not at fault can help your case.
Finally, give us a call if you have any questions. We've handled many cases where our clients have been injured by drivers on their cell phones. The experienced injury attorneys at The Lions Injury Lawyers, P.C. represent auto accident injury cases throughout the state of California, and we're standing by, ready to take your call.