March 3, 2017
Distracted Driving and Smartphones: How to Protect Yourself
According to statistics published by the federal government, distracted driving injured some 431,000 people during 2014.1 While distracted driving has certainly existed since the first driver has gotten behind the wheel, it is undeniable that smartphones present a particularly compelling and immersive distraction to modern drivers.
With a smartphone, you are connected to your entire digital life at all times. At any given moment, you can check your email, text a friend, make a phone call, and even watch a movie, all with a device that can fit in your pocket. Unfortunately, many people choose to do such things while they are driving, which can be extremely dangerous.
Avoid Distractions Behind the Wheel
The number one way to protect yourself from the dangers of distracted driving is to avoid using your smartphone at all costs while you are driving. Always use hands-free technology if you need to make a call, but even that can be distracting. Keep your phone in a purse or out or reach to avoid the temptation to check it. If it is imperative that you read or send a message, look up directions, or use your smartphone for any other purpose, always have a passenger do it or pull over before you do so.
Unfortunately, as responsible as you may be to avoid your smartphone while driving, you cannot stop others from doing so and putting you at risk. If you actively see someone texting, you should move as far away from them as possible and never drive directly next to them. Even if you cannot see whether they are on a smartphone, you can identify distracted drivers by their driving behaviors, which can be similar to drunk drivers. Such behaviors include:
- Drifting out of their lane and then swerving back
- Slowing down without a valid reason to do so or without actively braking
- Slamming on brakes at the last minute if traffic is slowing down or stopping
If you see another driver behaving in this manner or otherwise driving erratically, give them plenty of room and call the police if their driving is particularly dangerous.
What to Do If You are Injured in an Accident with a Distracted Driver
If someone else crashes into your car and you believe they may have been distracted at the time, there are certain steps you can take to protect your rights. First, you should always call the police to have them some to the scene of the accident. Texting and driving is illegal in Pennsylvania2 and if the police officer finds evidence that the driver was texting or was otherwise using a smartphone, the officer can issue a citation to the driver. This citation can be used as evidence of the driver’s negligence if you file a personal injury claim to recover for your losses. In addition, an officer will file a police report with information that can be used to assist testimony if your case goes to trial.
Next, if you believe there is a chance you sustained any type of injury, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible following the crash. It is usually a good idea to visit an emergency department straight from the accident scene. This ensures that your injuries are properly diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. Those records will also be essential for you to later prove your injury-related losses.
As soon as your injuries are stabilized, you should seek help from a personal injury lawyer who has specific experience handling distracted driving cases. Proving that a driver was distracted can be challenging and requires particular types of evidence and you want a law firm with the resources and knowledge to gather sufficient evidence. Some evidence can include:
- Smartphone usage records
- Witness testimony
- Footage from traffic or surveillance cameras
The right attorney will know how to obtain the evidence necessary to prove fault in your distracted driving case so that you can receive the compensation you deserve.
Call the Levin Firm Today to Speak with a Philadelphia Car Accident Attorney
Distracted drivers pose a threat to everyone with whom they share the road. Fortunately for people who are injured in accidents with distracted drivers, they are often able to recover compensation for the losses they sustain as a result of their wreck. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Philadelphia car accident lawyer, call our office today at 215-825-5183 or contact us online.