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Distracted Driving Dangers for Texas Motorcyclists

September 29, 2023Motorcycle Accidents

Distracted driving is a significant hazard on Texas roads, posing a particular threat to motorcyclists due to their vulnerability in traffic.

What is Distracted Driving? 

Distracted driving refers to the act of operating a vehicle while simultaneously engaging in activities that divert a driver’s attention away from the primary task of driving. This distraction can occur through various means, including visual distractions (taking one’s eyes off the road), manual distractions (removing one’s hands from the steering wheel), and cognitive distractions (taking one’s mind off driving).

Common examples of distracted driving include: 

  • Texting or using a mobile phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or other controls
  • Talking to passengers
  • Grooming
  • Reading
  • Using a GPS device
  • Daydreaming
  • Smoking

The Dangers Distracted Drivers Pose for Motorcyclists

Distracted driving poses a particularly severe risk to motorcyclists due to their relative lack of protection compared to drivers in enclosed vehicles. Here are the dangers of distracted driving for motorcyclists:

Reduced Visibility

Motorcycles are smaller and less visible than cars or trucks. When drivers are distracted, they are less likely to notice a rider on the road. This increases the likelihood of collisions, especially during lane changes or turns.

Slower Reaction Time

Distractions divert a driver’s attention and delay their reaction time. This is critical when it comes to avoiding crashes with motorcyclists, as they have less margin for error in emergency situations.

Difficulty in Judging Speed and Distance

Judging the speed and distance of an approaching motorcycle is crucial for safe driving. Distractions can impair a driver’s ability to accurately assess these factors, leading to misjudgments and potential accidents.

Limited Maneuverability of Motorcycles

Motorcycles are more maneuverable than larger vehicles, allowing them to make quick adjustments to avoid potential hazards. However, when a driver is distracted and suddenly realizes a motorcyclist is nearby, they may panic and make abrupt or unpredictable movements, increasing the risk of a collision.

Vulnerability of Motorcyclists

In the event of an accident, motorcyclists have little protection due to the lack of safety features like airbags and the structural frame of an enclosed vehicle, making them more susceptible to severe injuries or even fatalities.

Potential for Severe Injuries

Due to the vulnerability mentioned above, accidents involving distracted drivers and motorcyclists can result in catastrophic injuries for the motorcyclist, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, fractures, disfigurement, severe road rash, and more. 

Difficulty in Recovering Balance

Even minor collisions or close calls can lead to a loss of balance for a motorcyclist, which can result in a fall or crash. This is especially true if the driver’s distraction causes sudden, unexpected movements.

Given the heightened risk, motorcyclists must adopt defensive driving strategies, such as assuming that drivers may not see them and taking extra precautions to increase their visibility.

How Can a Motorcyclist Prove a Driver Caused an Accident Because They Were Distracted

Proving that a driver caused an accident due to distraction requires gathering evidence and establishing a clear chain of events. Here are steps a motorcyclist can take to demonstrate that driver distraction was a contributing factor:

  • Gather Witness Statements: If there were any witnesses to the accident, their statements can be invaluable. They can provide independent accounts of what they saw, including any indications of driver distraction.
  • Document the Scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including the positions of the vehicles involved, any skid marks, traffic signals, and any visible distractions in the driver’s vehicle (e.g., a phone on the seat or dashboard).
  • Call the Police: Report the accident to the police. They will conduct an investigation, and their report will often include their assessment of the cause, including any observations of driver distraction.
  • Seek Medical Attention: Even if injuries seem minor at first, it’s crucial to seek medical attention. This creates a record of injuries and can establish a link between the accident and any subsequent medical issues.
  • Preserve Evidence: Keep any damaged clothing or equipment, such as a helmet or protective gear. These items can serve as physical evidence of the impact and severity of the accident.
  • Consult an Attorney: Speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. They can help navigate the legal process and gather the necessary evidence to support the claim.
  • Request Phone Records: If there is reason to believe that the driver was using a mobile device, a lawyer can subpoena phone records to check for calls or texts around the time of the accident.
  • Obtain Surveillance Footage: If the accident occurred in an area with security cameras, your attorney can help you secure any relevant footage. This can provide critical visual evidence of the events leading up to the crash.
  • Obtain Expert Testimony: In some cases, your lawyer may hire accident reconstruction experts or medical experts to provide professional analysis and testimony regarding the cause and consequences of the accident.
  • File a Lawsuit: If the distracted driver’s insurer denies your claim or refuses to settle for fair compensation, you can file a lawsuit. The evidence collected will be presented in court to demonstrate that distraction significantly contributed to the accident.

Injured? Contact our Houston Motorcycle Accident Lawyers Today!

Hiring an experienced Houston motorcycle accident lawyer is often in your best interests to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to prove the driver’s distraction was the cause of your accident and that you recover maximum compensation.