Have You Been Injured? We're Ready to Fight for You.

What Is the Best Way to Deal with a Distracted Driver?

Published on Apr 23, 2024 by Thomas Law Offices.

What Is the Best Way to Deal with a Distracted Driver?

In today’s fast-paced world, distracted driving has become a serious issue and a common danger on our roads. With April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month, it’s important to remember that distractions, whether texting, eating, or adjusting the radio, can lead to accidents with severe consequences.

According to reports by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,300 people died, and an estimated 290,000 people were injured in vehicle accidents due to distracted driving just in 2022.

So, in this blog post, let’s talk about some of the most common causes and ramifications of distracted driving, the best ways to handle a distracted driver when you encounter one on the road, and some effective strategies and precautions to navigate these situations safely.

Top Causes for Distracted Driving

Distracted driving poses a significant risk on the roads, leading to many accidents, injuries, and deaths each year. Understanding the primary reasons behind this dangerous behavior is crucial for implementing effective prevention strategies.

Here are the top three reasons for distracted driving:

Mobile Devices and Technology

The proliferation of mobile devices and technology has dramatically increased the prevalence of distracted driving. From texting and browsing social media to making phone calls, drivers often find themselves tempted to use their phones while behind the wheel.

The allure of staying connected or entertained can lead to dangerous distractions, taking their focus away from the road and increasing the risk of accidents.

Multitasking and Inattention

Many drivers underestimate the demands of operating a vehicle safely, believing they can multitask without consequences. However, attempting to juggle various activities while driving, such as eating, grooming, or adjusting the radio, can compromise their ability to react to changing road conditions. Inattention to the task at hand is a common cause of distracted driving, as drivers fail to give their full attention to the road ahead.

Cognitive Distractions

Beyond physical distractions, cognitive distractions can also impair a driver’s ability to focus on driving. Stress, fatigue, and preoccupation with other thoughts or concerns can divert their attention away from the task of driving safely. Daydreaming or engaging in deep conversations with passengers can lead to cognitive overload, making it difficult for drivers to react quickly to potential hazards on the road.

The Financial Cost of Distracted Driving

It’s estimated by the NHTSA that the economic cost of all US motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2019 (the most recent data) was $340 billion. Of this, $98 billion in hard costs directly resulted from distracted driving crashes.

Factoring in quality-of-life valuations sees the total value of harm from these motor vehicle traffic crashes jump to a staggering $1.37 trillion.

Understanding the Risks of Distracted Driving

Before diving into strategies for dealing with distracted drivers, it’s crucial to understand the risks associated with this behavior. Distracted driving significantly increases the likelihood of accidents, injuries, and even fatalities.

Studies have shown that being distracted for just a few seconds can have devastating consequences.

At 55 mph, taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds (the average time to read a text message) is equal to driving the full length of a football field with your eyes closed.

The Best Ways to Deal with a Distracted Driver

From rear-end collisions to swerving into other lanes, the dangers posed by distracted driving are all too real. Here are some common-sense ways to keep yourself and your loved ones safer when dealing with a distracted driver:

  • Stay Calm and Maintain Distance – Encountering a distracted driver can be unnerving, but it’s essential to stay calm and composed. The first step is to maintain a safe distance from the distracted driver’s vehicle. By keeping a buffer zone between your car and theirs, you’ll have more time to react if their erratic behavior leads to sudden maneuvers.
  • Avoid Confrontation – While it’s natural to feel frustrated or angry when you spot a distracted driver, it’s essential to avoid confrontational behavior. In 2023, 92% of Americans witnessed an act of road rage. Things like honking excessively, tailgating, or making aggressive gestures can escalate the situation and increase the risk of a collision. Instead, focus on protecting yourself and your passengers by staying vigilant and prepared to react to any sudden movements from the distracted driver.
  • Use Defensive Driving Techniques – One of the best ways to deal with a distracted driver is to employ defensive driving techniques. This means staying alert, scanning the road ahead, and anticipating potential hazards. Keep your eyes on the road, use your mirrors effectively, and be prepared to react quickly if the situation requires it. Defensive driving can help you mitigate the risks posed by distracted drivers and increase your chances of avoiding accidents.
  • Report Dangerous Behavior – If you encounter a distracted driver who poses a significant risk to others on the road, consider reporting their behavior to the appropriate authorities. In many areas, you can contact law enforcement or highway patrol to alert them to the situation. Describe the vehicle, its location, and any relevant details about the driver’s behavior. Reporting dangerous driving can help prevent accidents and save lives.
  • Lead by Example – As responsible drivers, we have a duty to lead by example and promote safe driving practices. Avoid engaging in distracting activities behind the wheel, such as texting, talking on the phone, or eating. Set a positive example for others on the road by staying focused, attentive, and committed to safe driving habits. By doing so, you can help create a safer environment for everyone on the road.

Dealing with a distracted driver requires patience, awareness, and quick thinking.

By understanding the risks of distracted driving, staying calm, and employing defensive driving techniques, you can effectively navigate these situations and protect yourself and your passengers from harm.

Remember to lead by example and promote safe driving practices whenever you’re behind the wheel.

Together, we can work towards reducing the prevalence of distracted driving and making our roads safer for everyone.

Free Case Evaluation

At Thomas Law Offices, our personal injury attorneys recognize that our potential clients are likely going through some of the most difficult times of their lives. We don't want you to have to worry about paying out of pocket for legal advice when you're just starting to learn your legal rights and options. That's why we provide free case evaluations. We'll offer our expert advice about your potential case and walk you through how we can help you.

Call us or fill out the form below to tell us about your potential case and a personal injury lawyer will get back to you as quickly as possible.

Meet Our Founder

Tad Thomas - Trial Lawyer

Tad Thomas

Managing Partner

Tad Thomas has dedicated his practice to representing plaintiffs in various types of civil litigation, including personal injury, business litigation, class actions, and multi-district litigation.

After graduating with his law degree in 2000 from Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University, Mr. Thomas immediately opened his own private practice and began representing injury victims.

In 2011, Thomas Law Offices was established in Louisville, Kentucky. Over the past decade, Mr. Thomas has expanded his firm and now has offices in three additional locations: Cincinnati, Ohio, Columbia, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois. He is also a frequent lecturer on topics like trial skills and ethics and technology.

Legal & Firm News

How Soon After an Accident Should You Notify Your Insurer?

After an accident, your top priority is to get medical help. When that’s done, what’s the next step? If you are ready to start the claims process, you must notify your insurer. But how soon after an accident should you notify your insurer? You don’t want to wait to initiate a claim in most situations. […]

Read More

Pedestrian Fatally Struck at PGA Championship in Louisville; Golfer Scottie Scheffler Arrested

While the 2024 PGA Championship over this past weekend should have been a joyous occasion given how golfer Xander Schauffele won the first major of his career, for many others, it will be remembered instead for the tragic event that happened there. This past Friday, May 17, just before Round 2 of the tournament was […]

Read More

Former Kentucky Swim Coach Lars Jorgensen Sued for Sexual Assault

On April 12, two former University of Kentucky swim and dive team members filed a sexual assault lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Lexington. In the filing, not only was former Kentucky swim coach Lars Jorgensen sued for sexual assault, but another member of the coaching team, Gary Conelly, the university’s athletics director, Mitch Barnhart, […]

Read More
Tad Thomas on The National Crime Victim Bar Association
National Civil Justice Institute - Trustee
Tad Thomas on Lawyer Minds
Tad Thomas on American Association for Justice
Southern Trial Lawyers Association
Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
Ohio Association for Justice
Kentucky Justice Association
Fellows of the Litigation Counsel of America
Martindale Hubbell Preeminent
2021 Public Justice Member
AAJ Masters of Trial Law: Champion