For a lot of us, driving is a daily chore we have to take part in to get to where we need to go. Whether it’s a commute to work, school, or wherever your errands take you, you get there behind the wheel of a car. While newer drivers may still get to enjoy the novelty of the open road, more seasoned folks typically have a more apathetic view — if not an outright distaste. Driving, after all, can be really annoying. Potholes, weather issues, and even just the constant state of focus can grate on anyone’s nerves even without anyone else on the roads with them.
Usually, though, there are other drivers, and boy, can they annoy! Tailgaters, aggressive honkers, people who can’t seem to use their blinkers — pretty much everyone has a brand of driver they detest the most. However, it’s important not to let your annoyance and general apathy for driving get in the way of taking safety precautions and staying aware, because other drivers can do way more than get on your nerves. When other drivers choose to be reckless or otherwise negligent, it’s the innocent people like you who can get hurt when they crash into your car.
New technology is making it easier to ignore the road
Odds are, you’ve probably at least seen someone make a poor driving decision. When people get apathetic or bored, they get lazy. When they get lazy, they get careless, and then you look next to yourself at a red light and the driver in the next car is cooking breakfast on a George Foreman grill. You think, “why?” even though you know you wouldn’t turn down an offering of bacon, and the answer is simple psychology. Humans are impatient and do not like to be bored, and this dislike often overshadows things like common sense and social awareness.
Vehicle manufacturers and lawmakers alike have been working for years to try and mitigate this problem. The thing is, you just aren’t allowed to be lazy while driving, because it risks the lives of you and everyone else on the road. So, to minimize the things you can distract yourself with, features become locked while vehicles are in motion and texting becomes illegal while behind the wheel. Technology may be evolving to allow more (and cooler) amenities, but safety is usually still at the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Some manufacturers seem to have a different idea. Specifically, Tesla. While other cars boast distraction-minimizing features, Tesla appears to be rolling out technology that promotes the exact opposite. In this case, the flashy cars seem to have an option to play video games on the touch-screen central console… while driving. The idea is for passengers to be able to kill time on long drives, but with no measures in place to prevent the drivers from participating, it’s an accident — and a lawsuit — waiting to happen. Let’s face it: if you are already bored and prone to distraction while on your morning commute, and now you have a car that lets you play solitaire in traffic, what are you going to do? Exactly.
Don’t deny it. We all know. It’s okay.
That is exactly the issue, in fact. You could spread awareness of the dangers of distracted driving until you’re blue in the face, but if you make it easier for drivers to be distracted, that’s what’s going to happen. More distracted drivers inevitably lead to more car accidents, which means more people getting hurt or killed in preventable, avoidable ways.
Why distracted driving is so dangerous
Okay, so you have heard about how dangerous distracted driving is about a billion times, but with all the hyperbole and scare tactics out there, it can be hard to know what advice to actually take seriously. Not only that, but even if you personally drive without distraction, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to another driver hitting you anyway. But awareness is still important, even without a concrete guarantee of safety — because there just isn’t one as long as you’re on the road.
In 2021, there were over a thousand car accident-related fatalities in Tennessee. That number doesn’t even account for all the non-fatal injuries incurred by collisions, just in case you weren’t intimidated enough. Accidents happen, whether or not you’re aware of them, and they can happen to you. Part of the awareness you should have to help mitigate the risk of a collision is understanding exactly why distracted driving is so dangerous.
Plenty of people think they’re good enough to pull it off. They feel confident enough in their surroundings and their driving ability to fire off that text, scroll through songs, or cook that bacon (please do not cook bacon while driving). When apathy and boredom mixes in with that kind of arrogance, you get dangerous mistakes. In fact, here’s a list of what makes distracted driving so dangerous, no matter how much “practice” one may have:
- It affects concentration, which means one can miss sudden warning signs from other vehicles or obstacles
- It affects vision (obviously) when one is not watching the road
- It limits physical responses if one’s hands are not on the wheel or their feet are not near the brakes
Driving a vehicle requires a lot of sudden, minute adjustments and a constant awareness of the world around you. If you are not distracted, you may be able to avoid drivers who obviously are and steer clear from a disaster. But if a distracted driver does hit and injure you anyways, know that the law is on your side.
Distracted driving is not legal, and it is not something anyone should get away with — especially when their poor decisions hurt you or someone you love. Luckily, the Knoxville car accident attorneys at Banks & Jones know how to hold these drivers accountable while making sure you’re compensated for your pain and suffering. To get started on your case today, call us at 865-546-2141 or use our contact form. They’ve gotten away with enough, haven’t they?
T. Scott knows the importance of interacting with colleagues to stay abreast of developments and changes in the legal world. T. Scott frequently teaches CLE courses on trial strategy, teaching other lawyers his methods for success in the courtroom, and is certified as a Rule 31 Mediator in the Tennessee Supreme Court. He is a member of the Knoxville Bar Association, the Tennessee Bar Association, the National Trial Lawyers, and both the Tennessee and American Associations for Justice.
Read more about T.Scott Jones