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Driving Defensively: Four Red Flags that Signal an Encounter with a Distracted Driver

Posted on in Personal Injury

California accident attorney, California injury lawyerThe term defensive driving is used to stress the importance of awareness on the roadways, and the practice is encouraged via defensive driving courses, which are offered regularly from county to county and state to state. Being observant of our driving environment and remaining cautious of the drivers around us are key practices in preventing car accident and injury. While we do not have the power to prevent every collision that comes our way, we can make the choice to drive on the defense and train ourselves to catch potentially dangerous situations on the road before they have the chance to result in serious accident and injury.

What to Look for as a Defensive Driver

As you make the effort to drive defensively, there are a number of scenarios to watch for as you operate your vehicle. You should continually take into account the weather and the conditions of the roads you are traveling, as well as changes in traffic patterns or any emerging construction work zone areas. One of the most significant, ongoing problems to be vigilant of is distracted driving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 1,161 injuries and at least 8 deaths each day due to distracted drivers. Any of the following observations are immediate red flags that you are encountering a driver who is not paying attention to the road:

1. Cell phone or in-vehicle technology use - The state of California prohibits the use of cellphones while behind the wheel unless the calls are in hands-free mode or are in progress strictly for emergency or work purposes. Still, recent surveys from 2016 show that more than 54 percent of drivers in California reported they had been hit or were nearly hit by drivers who were texting or talking on the phone. Scan the drivers in front of and to the side of you; if you notice their gaze is cast downward or you see them holding a cell phone in their hand, create distance between your vehicles and be prepared to slow down or pull over at a moment’s notice. This also applies to anyone you spot using other forms of in-vehicle technology, such as GPS devices.

2. Speeding - Speeding can be a sign of many things, including intoxicated and aggressive driving, but it is also often attributed to distracted driving, as drivers easily lose track of their speed or jump or drop speeds when they are busy doing something else, such as putting on makeup, playing with a GPS device, or texting. If you notice someone traveling at inconsistent speeds or traveling at very high speeds, be extremely cautious as you navigate around them.

3. Other aggressive maneuvers - Along with speeding, there are other aggressive maneuvers that imply a driver is distracted behind the wheel. Tailgating or erratic behaviors not only signify that the driver is in a rush, but may also point to distracted driving behaviors, such as talking on the phone, arguing with another passenger, or tending to children while hurrying to get to a destination. Whatever the case, if you spot aggressive or fast-paced movements from a car nearby, take precautions to protect yourself.

4. Swerving - Easily a sign that a driver may be intoxicated, swerving is also a classic sign of a driver whose eyes are anywhere but on the road. You may see the car in front of you drift or veer into the next lane over, or you may witness it floating all the way to the shoulder of the road. Make it a habit of being on constant alert for swerving drivers, and if you feel your safety or the safety of others may truly be in danger, do not hesitate to pull over and call the police to report the behavior.

Even when we observe dangerous distracted-driving episodes on the highway and do our best to protect our safety, accident and injury can happen. If you have been involved in a collision due to distracted driving, protect your rights in a court of law by speaking with a qualified San Jose, CA car accident injury lawyer. Call Jachimowicz Law Group, Attorneys at Law, Inc. today at 408-246-5500 for a free consultation.

 

Sources:

http://www.ots.ca.gov/Media_and_Research/Campaigns/Distracted_Driving/default.asp

https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/

https://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdrowsydriving/

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