Since Minnesota’s hands-free law was adopted in 2019, it’s become common knowledge that looking at one’s phone while driving is unsafe. You don’t need a car accident attorney to tell you that – there were 30% more distracted drivers in 2022 compared to 2020.
And breaking the hands-free law isn’t the only thing that causes devastating auto accidents. All sorts of distractions – some of which you may not even think of as distractions – can lead to a serious accident with life-changing injuries or wrongful death.
If you’re the victim of such an accident and believe the other driver was driving distracted, it’s important to seek help from a personal injury attorney like JD Haas & Associates, PLLC. Our Minneapolis team of personal injury lawyers is here to discuss a few little-known causes of distracted driving and what to know if someone else has harmed you or your family for life with their negligence behind the wheel.
1. Impetuous Passengers
You’re probably used to ferrying your kids, loved ones, or friends from place to place. Generally speaking, having a passenger in the car isn’t a distraction in and of itself if they are respectful of your need for concentration.
However, loud or otherwise obtrusive passengers really can take a toll on your ability to drive a car safely. Take this into account before leaving your driveway and seat everyone for maximum comfort. Not only will safe driving be easier, but you’ll also arrive at your destination relatively stress-free.
2. Dashboard Bobbleheads
While they’re indeed cute, sticking a figurine to your dashboard can actually serve as a significant distraction, especially if it wobbles about. As an obstruction of your windshield, it can cause a major blind spot that you have to actively work around while driving, which in turn creates a major attention-hog.
If you’ve got one, take it down and put it on the shelf. Trust a team of injury lawyers: You’ll thank us later.
3. Eating or Drinking
We know, we know – it’s tempting to tear into that fast-food burger while it’s still hot. But wait to savor that food until you get home, or pull off into the parking lot to chow down! From excessive heat to sauce dripping everywhere, food can certainly keep your attention away from where it’s supposed to be: on the road.
Drinking, too, can have the same effect. It’s true that cold beverages are unlikely to cause pain if, for example, you accelerate too suddenly, but they can still slosh everywhere, and taking a sip prevents you from having both hands safely on the wheel.
4. Outside Distractions
The world moves rapidly, and outside distractions can be just as big of a contributor as inside. From moving objects like animals to accidents on the side of the road, exterior situations can be more distracting than interior ones.
Smoking is another common cause of distracted driving because it requires removing your attention from the road and your hand from the wheel. From grabbing cigarettes, a cigar, or a pipe to lighting it and using the ashtray, all these actions can increase your risk of an accident.
What Constitutes Reckless Driving?
Per Minnesota laws, reckless driving is when the driver is aware of and disregards any risks while driving that could create damage or harm to someone else or their property.
The most common examples include the following:
Exceeding the speed limit
Passing in a no-passing zone or on the shoulder
Running a red light
When Distracted Driving Leads to Life-Changing Injuries
Distracted driving increases the risk of having a major motor vehicle accident resulting in life-changing injuries. In some cases, the setback may not be as severe, but if you have lost a limb or worse, these will require physical therapy and rehabilitation, which can be challenging adjustments to make. Daily routines can be disrupted, and there are also psychological effects like depression and anxiety that can arise, reducing the individual's quality of life.
Working with an injury lawyer can help negate some of the financial and emotional strain by helping you get the financial resources you need for rehabilitation and emotional support as you navigate the experience.
When Distracted Driving Causes a Wrongful Death
Suffering the loss of a loved one is heartbreaking, and when it occurs from distracted driving, this can create emotions like sorrow, grief, and outrage. While no amount of money can replace the individual, working with a wrongful death attorney can help you get the support financial support needed to honor the individual's life and offer resources to help remove some of the worries about daily obligations.
JD Haas: Here to Help in Your Auto Accident Aftermath
At JD Hass, our commitment is to compassion, and because we keep our caseloads low to build a solid relationship with our clients and a thorough approach, we are incredibly selective about what cases we take on.
Whether you’re taking things to court or not, our team of experienced car accident lawyers is here to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact our Minneapolis office or give us a call at (952) 234-2925. We also serve Bloomington, Saint Paul, and Rochester.