For the experienced road user, driving may feel relatively easy. However, the truth is that driving is a complex activity that involves constant split-second decisions. Drivers need to react to hazards, and they need to do so quickly.
For instance, if the car in front slows down suddenly, the driver behind needs to react to this by braking. Slower reaction times increase the likelihood of accidents. What factors are most likely to slow down the reaction time of drivers?
Any type of distraction can slow down the reaction times of road users. The most notable form of distraction is cell phones. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that cell phone use accounts for over 1.6 million car crashes every year.
It’s important to note that distractions don’t need to be physical. Anything that takes the road user’s attention away from driving amounts to a distraction that could slow reaction times down. For instance, if the driver is stressed, angry, upset or “lost in thought”.
The use of alcohol and illicit substances can also significantly reduce a driver’s reaction times. Some studies suggest that a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 means that a driver’s reaction time can be decreased by 120 milliseconds. At first, this may not sound like a lot, but at 70 miles per hour, this means that the vehicle could travel an additional 12 feet before the driver reacts to a hazard.
If you have been injured by someone whose driving ability was impaired then you may be entitled to financial compensation. Seeking as much legal information as possible will help you learn more about personal injury claims.