There are two pieces of advice that can help protect you from getting into a distracted driving collision. The first and most obvious is to not engage in distracted driving yourself. Putting your phone on silent and setting it where you can’t see or reach it can help you avoid temptation while driving.
The second tip for distracted driving safety is to avoid distracted drivers the same way that you would a noticeably drunk driver. Slowing down or speeding up to move away from them in traffic or even changing the route you take can be ways to minimize your risk of a crash caused by someone nearby engaged in unsafe behaviors.
Still, like with chemically impaired drivers, distracted driving isn’t always obvious to others on the road until the moments right before someone causes a crash. Do you know how to identify some of the warning signs of distracted driving?
Red flags that might indicate someone isn’t focused on driving
If you are driving next to or approaching a vehicle, you may be able to see into the cab and verify that they don’t have both hands on the wheel. If you’re close enough, you could hear them arguing with a passenger or notice them singing along to the radio. You might even see them holding their phone, eating or leaning over to the passenger seat to grab something.
However, it’s not always so obvious that someone isn’t fully focused on the task of driving. Some of the warning signs of a nearby distracted driver include:
- Sudden swerving or corrections when a driver looks up or hits a rumble strip
- Gradual drifting across the centerline or onto the shoulder because they aren’t paying attention
- Illumination from under the driver’s face during darker times of day indicating phone use
- Unpredictable changes in speed, possibly due to someone taking their foot off the gas
Unfortunately, distraction isn’t always so obvious. You may not be able to detect a distracted driver until it is too late and they’ve already caused a collision.
Distraction at the wheel almost always leads to fault
In Texas, drivers break the law when they use mobile devices at the wheel. Committing a wrongful act or engaging in negligent behavior while driving can result in a finding of fault for the crash. It can also open the door to legal and financial liability for the outcome of the crash.