car accident

Photo courtesy of the Tri-city Herald

A four-car accident in Kennewick on Monday, just after 4pm, totaled two cars and left one person injured, according to the Washington State Patrol.

A 42-year-old woman ran her Audi sedan into another car that was slowing as it approached the intersection of Highway 395 and North Yelm Street.

That car, a Mitsubishi sedan, was then knocked into a Dodge Challenger stopped at the intersection. The Challenger was pushed into a Ford pickup that was also waiting at the intersection.

All in all, four vehicles were involved, with the Audi and Mitsubishi sustaining enough damages to total them out. The causing Audi driver had notable injuries and was transported to a local hospital. The state patrol determined the auto accident was caused by her inattention while driving and plan to cite her with second-degree negligent driving charges.

View original news article here.

Inattentive Driving and Car Accidents

Inattentive driving is generally defined as the failure to pay proper attention to the road while driving. With the recent distracted driving law that went into effect in July 2017, most drivers are aware that the use of a cell phone, or even holding it while driving, in Washington state is prohibited. But distracted driving can include so many other tasks and behaviors that take the focus and eyes of the driver away from the road.

Considerable research on the habits of automobile operators show that drivers generally do not look away from the road for longer that 1-1.5 seconds at a time. Studies also show there are a myriad of reasons drivers lose focus on the roadway. Most of these distractions are from within the vehicle itself, causing the driver to compromise their focus on the road.  Frequent glances and longer looking times away from the road decreasing safe driving performance and increase risk of a car accident like the one in Kennewick.

So What’s Going On in the Car?

These types of activities can vary in complexity, from simple actions to some that require complicated eye-hand coordination, all the while increasing the length of time the driver isn’t seeing what’s on the road in front of them.

As the graph outlines, cell phones aren’t the only distractions to a driver behind the wheel. Other things, like eating, drinking, grooming themselves, using navigational tools, and even reading, can pose hazardous risks because it diverts the full attention of the driver from the road ahead of them.

“A car is not your living room, office or kitchen. It is a means of getting from one point to another and must be used judiciously,” said Loretta Worters, vice president with the Insurance Information Institute. “People can become so absorbed in their conversations or activities that their ability to concentrate on the crucial act of driving is severely impaired, jeopardizing the safety of vehicle occupants and pedestrians.”

Avoiding Distracted Driving Can Prevent a Car Accident

Here are a few recommendations to avoid distracted driving from the Insurance Information Institute:

  • Pull Off the Road–Don’t drive while calling or texting; pull off the road to a safe location.
  • Use Speed Dialing–Program frequently called numbers and your local emergency number into the speed dial feature of your phone for easy, one-touch dialing. when available, use auto answer or voice-activated dialing.
  • Never Dial While Driving–If you must dial manually, do so only when stopped. Pull off the road, or better yet, have a passenger dial for you.
  • Take a Message–Let your voice mail pick up your calls in tricky driving situations. It’s easy—and safer—to retrieve your messages later.
  • Know When to Stop Talking–Keep conversations on the phone and in the car brief so you can concentrate on your driving. If a long discussion is required, if the topic is stressful or emotional, or if driving becomes hazardous, end your conversation, and continue it once you are off the road.
  • Keep the Phone in Its Holder–Make sure your phone is securely in its holder when you are not using it so it does not pop out and distract you when you are driving.
  • Don’t Take Notes While Driving–If you need to write something down, pull off the road or have a passenger write it down for you.
  • Don’t Eat or Drink While Driving–Spills, both hot and cold, can easily cause an accident. If you must stop short, you could also be severely burned.
  • Groom Yourself at Home–Shaving, putting on makeup, combing your hair or other forms of preening are distractions and should be done at home, not while driving.

Distracted Driving is Dangerous Driving

Distracted driving kills and injures thousands of people every year.  It’s a risky behavior that jeopardizes the lives, health, and safety of everyone on the road.  If you know that you cannot dedicate 100% of your attention to safe driving, there’s no shame or embarrassment in finding another way to travel. Everyone deserves to arrive alive.

If you or someone you love has been injured or killed by an inattentive driver, contact Fielding Law Group today. Don’t let an accident WRECK You!