The 3-second rule: All kinds of accidents–auto, truck, motorcycle–happen because those important three seconds can make the difference between seeing possible problems about to happen, and being distracted just before the “BAM” sound happens.
What are the most common things that cause drivers to be inattentive–and cause accidents that bring serious personal injury?
In the study done by NHTSA, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, “Findings of Breakthrough Research on Real-World Driver Behavior, Distraction and Crash Factors,” the factors are:
• CELL PHONES are the most common distraction for drivers. Surprisingly, the number of crashes and near-crashes that can be attributed to the driver actually dialing is almost the same as caused by the driver talking or listening. Even though dialing is more dangerous, drivers do it less than just talking or listening. Cell phones are great for calling in accidents–just don’t do it while you are driving yourself.
• DROWSINESS can cause crashes or near crashes–and personal injury, and is often not listed as a reason for the crash.
• DISTRACTIONS: Both hands not on your steering wheel and your attention not on the road increase risk of personal injury. The study’s statistics are:
– Reaching for a moving object increased the risk by 9 times – Looking at an external object by 3.7 times
– Reading by 3 times
– Applying makeup by 3 times
– Dialing a hand-held device (typically a cell phone) by almost 3 times – Talking or listening on a hand-held device by 1.3 times.
The study also showed that drivers who do things that distract them from the job at hand–driving the vehicle, more likely to be involved in an inattention-related crash or near-crash. Many drivers do not know how to judge when it is safe to look away from the road to do one of the many multi-task common in moving vehicles today. This can leave the driver facing a situation he needs to react to abruptly–again that 3-second time frame.
Often the other driver will say, “I didn’t see you.” If that is true, be sure to see your personal injury attorney. This is especially true in motorcycle/vehicle crashes.
Keep your eye on the road in front of you, and on the other drivers who are distracted and inattentive. It may save you from being involved in an accident or incurring injuries.
NOTE: The 100-Car Study and its follow-on analysis were co-sponsored by NHTSA, the Virginia Transportation Research Council (the research division of the Virginia Department of Transportation) and Virginia Tech.
The 100-Car Naturalistic Driving Study tracked the behavior of the drivers of 100 vehicles equipped with video and sensor devices for more than one year. During that time, the vehicles were driven nearly 2,000,000 miles, yielding 42,300 hours of data. The 241 drivers of the vehicles were involved in 82 crashes, 761 near crashes, and 8,295 critical incidents.
For more information, contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Association.