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Brief glances away from the road increase the risk of crash

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers only look away from the road for a maximum of two seconds. However, Louisiana drivers may be interested in learning that Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety finds that even such brief glances increases the chance of a crash.

According to the researchers, there is a period of eye readjustment when a driver looks away from the road and then back to it. Additionally, a vehicle that is traveling 70 mph covers a distance of around 200 feet within a two-second period. With so much distance covered in such a short amount of time, the risk of a car wreck is increased with the readjustment of the eyes returning to the road.

During the study, the researchers analyzed the reactions and performance of experienced drivers using a driving simulator and eye-tracking technology. The findings suggest that drivers who looked away from the road for two seconds performed lower when reacting to possible hazards than drivers who were not distracted.

After the simulation, the drivers were questioned about how they felt about their performance. The distracted drivers believed that they performed at 70 percent on average. This indicates that drivers are unaware of how distracted driving affects their abilities.

The senior behavioral researcher working on the study says that they were particularly interested in driver observation of emerging hazards before they became distracted and whether they remembered to look for it afterward. The results, he added, suggest that drivers will continue unsafe habits because they are unaware that they miss critical information.

When the cause of a car accident is distracted driving, the injured victim might be eligible for compensation through a personal injury claim against the distracted driver. Such cases could become complex, however, if the at-fault driver's insurance fights it. Some victims might be more comfortable filing a claim with the help of lawyers because of this.

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