Teenagers often are blamed for the vast majority of vehicle accidents and risky behavior on the road, but they may not be worthy of that title, according to a new study. Overconfidence in your brain’s ability to focus on two tasks at once could lead to a car accident, and that, plus addictive phone behavior, plays out often for Millennials driving in Ohio.
While it is certainly true that teenage drivers are involved in more accidents than other age groups, it’s important to consider how recent statistics indicate that Millennials may actually be more likely to engage in distracted driving behavior.
Distracted driving is a serious issue and one that impacts everyone, including pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, passengers, and other vehicle drivers. In just a matter of seconds, a serious distracted driving accident on Ohio roads could cut someone’s life short.
Risky Driving Behavior Common Among Ohio Millennials
According to a new study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, young Millennials — individuals between the ages of 19 and 24 — are the riskiest drivers in the country.
Risky behaviors can increase your chances of being involved in a serious car accident and can lead to serious injuries or even death. Traffic deaths in the United States increased to more than 35,000 in 2015. This was an increase of over 7% and the largest year-over-year change in the last half century.
Unfortunately, Ohio’s fatal crash rates also increased from 919 in 2014 to more than 1,000 fatalities in 2015, according to research recently published by the Ohio Highway Patrol. Sadly, individuals between the ages of 19 and 24 seemed most likely to engage in risky behavior, and felt that it was socially acceptable to do so.
Distracted Driving’s Hangover Effect
One of the most alarming reasons for risky behavior is an overconfidence in your ability to stay focused on the road when you also are engaged in another activity. Cognitive distractions can pull your mind away from the task at hand and leave you unfocused for up to 27 seconds after you come back to focusing on the road. This is what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety refers to as a hangover effect.
Many people underestimate the impact of the hangover effect and assume that their focus has returned to the task of driving immediately, and that they have decreased their chances of a crash simply by placing the phone down. Millennials are the most to blame for this behavior — up to 88% of these drivers admitted to participating in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel of a car in the previous month, such as texting and driving, speeding, and running red lights.
The numbers for Ohio as it relates to drunk driving and Millennials also are quite problematic. Crashes related to operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs (OVIs) made up nearly 40% of all Ohio crashes in 2016. More than 400 individuals were killed and nearly 9,000 individuals were injured in OVI-related crashes. Up to 60% of those crashes include speed as the compounding factor.
Avoid Driving Distractions
Driving requires an extremely high percentage of your individual attention, if not all of it. However, as you become more comfortable and experienced behind the wheel with age, there’s a greater chance that you will ignore this and have a false sense of security about your ability to focus on other things.
Living in a world in which dings and pings from your phone can easily cause you to be distracted, it’s no surprise that many people are tempted to pick up their phone and check out what happened while driving a car. Research also has shown that Americans may be getting addicted to the notifications from their smartphone and the dopamine that is released just by seeing what news has popped onto their screens.
It’s important to known the types of driving distractions so you can be more aware of these as you’re on the road. Each of these can be very dangerous and increase your chances of getting in an accident.
Visual distractions include taking in the view around you, looking for items elsewhere in the car, or peering down at your GPS driving instructions. It’s also easy to get chatty with a passenger and check out their gestures or facial expressions, or glance at your phone to see who’s texting or calling.
Unlike visual distractions, a manual driving distraction includes any situation in which you take your hands off the wheel. Examples include smoking, drinking, eating, putting on makeup or engaging in another grooming behavior, or simply changing the radio station. Just adjusting your seat belt or looking for your wallet or through your purse also can take precious seconds away from your attention on the road.
Cognitive distractions actually take your mind’s focus away from the job at hand and cause it to think about something else. This includes day dreaming, talking to someone else in the vehicle or on the phone, thinking about an upsetting situation, road rage, and being under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drowsy driving, which has been found to be even more dangerous than drunk driving, also may be a form of cognitive distraction.
Many of these activities, such as texting and driving, can fall under a more than one category of distracted driving behavior. While texting, you’re distracted cognitively, manually and visually.
Get Help After an Ohio Texting Accident
It is extremely important to avoid distractions while driving. Getting involved in an accident could lead to catastrophic consequences for the person who caused it, and of course for those injured or killed.
Have you or someone you know already been hurt in a serious vehicle accident? If so, you’re not alone. Trying to navigate the legal system when you have been injured is overwhelming, and hiring the right personal injury lawyer in Ohio to help you after a distracted driving accident is strongly recommended.
Your focus should be on recovery, so you’ll want to hire an Ohio distracted driving lawyer who can win your case. Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz may be able to help. Contact us today for a free consultation.