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Can a driver's brief inattention really cause a car accident?

Many New Yorkers have done it: they have glanced at their cell phone, fiddled with the radio or checked out people in another nearby vehicle. What is the harm of that? After all, it only takes a moment. But according to a new study, even a moment can be dangerous; it just depends what happens in that moment.

Why is taking one's eyes off the road for just a moment so dangerous? Consider the math, if a person is traveling at 70 miles-per-hour, they travel 100 feet-per-second. That's a lot of ground in a short period of time. If a person traveling at 70 miles-per-hour takes their eyes off the road for a second, and something happens within the 100 feet in front of them, they have no chance to react because their attention was elsewhere. And even if something happened, say, 150 feet down the road, the person would have almost no time to avert disaster.

But while the danger is real, awareness of the danger falls short. For example, the Liberty Mutual Research Institute conducted tests of drivers. The tests had drivers wear eye-tracking equipment as they drove in a driving simulator. After sorting distracted drivers from alert ones, the researchers asked drivers to fill out a questionnaire that evaluated the drivers' perceived performance levels. The results showed that distracted drivers rated their performances quite high, at 70 percent. In short, they were not aware of just how bad their driving had been.

Unfortunately many New Yorkers fall into the distracted group. When one of these individuals causes a car accident, injured New Yorkers have legal options. To learn more about those options and how to pursue them, victims may benefit from speaking with an experienced car accident attorney.

Source: Claims Journal, "In-Vehicle Two Second Glance Increases Driving Risk: Liberty Mutual," Accessed on May 12, 2015

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