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