Distracted driving has always been a danger on roadways and the ongoing health crisis has only made the situation worse. While New Jersey residents may equate distracted driving with using a cell phone behind the wheel, distractions can be cognitive just as much as physical. Driving while stressed or anxious can be just as dangerous as texting behind the wheel if it takes someone’s attention away from the road.
About 20% of drivers have admitted to feeling more anxious since the new illness spread across the country. Anxiety can delay a driver’s response behind the wheel, making them more susceptible to becoming involved in a car accident. Increased anxiety also contributes to drunk driving or driving under the influence.
Anxiety is compounded in college and high school aged children. School closures and social isolation from friends has made teenagers more depressed and more likely to become distracted on the road. Already, teenagers account for the highest number of distracted driving accidents across the country. Even generally, teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are almost three times more likely as their counterparts aged 20 and above to become involved in a fatal crash.
As work and classes have shifted to cell phones, digital dependency has increased multifold across all age groups. While driving, phone usage has gone up by 38%. According to one study, listening to a phone while driving decreases the brain’s activity related to driving by about 37%. If the driver is a teen, their reaction time slows down to that of a 70-year-old driver.
Driving requires focus, concentration and an adherence to traffic safety rules. When a driver does not follow the rules of the road, he or she can end up risking the lives of everyone on the road. A distracted driving accident is one that could have almost always been avoided, so frustrated accident victims may want to hold them accountable for their behavior. A civil suit may be one way to do so, while also getting them compensation to cover the financial burden associated with the crash.