Two of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents have a lot more in common than it might seem at first. Impaired driving, also called drunk driving, has been an acknowledged scourge of safe roads for decades.
Distracted driving has also been a consistent issue, but thanks to the rise of social media and mobile phones, it is now more prevalent and obvious than ever before. On the surface, both distracted driving and drunk driving may seem irresponsible but very different. However, both of these behaviors have some interesting things in common.
People know that drunk and distracted driving is dangerous
The first and most important similarity is that almost everyone universally recognizes that driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driving while not looking at the road or holding onto the wheel, are dangerous driving behaviors.
Many states have criminalized texting at the wheel, and all states have laws about impairment while driving. Unfortunately, neither the knowledge of the danger involved nor the laws against these behaviors have stopped people from engaging in them.
Everyone thinks that they are the exception
When someone drinks too much, the alcohol can impair their judgment. Their cognitive abilities decline to the point that they may not even realize how impaired they are. Additionally, if the person in question has a habit of getting behind the wheel after drinking, they might assume that the frequency with which they do it means that they are better at it.
However, those people still pose a significant risk to others as well as themselves when they choose to drive. The same is true of those who text and drive. A lot of people who know that it is a dangerous habit seem to think that they alone know the secret to doing it safely.
People tend to overestimate their abilities as a driver, so it makes sense that they would also underestimate their risks when engaging in dangerous behaviors at the wheel.
Both drunk and distracted driving drastically increase the risk to others
When someone decides to drive after drinking or text while driving, they aren't the only ones who wind up endangered. Anyone with whom they cross paths on the road could wind up hurt or dealing with major property damage as a result of their decision.
The only good thing about the risk that these individuals cause is that victims of crashes due to drunk or distracted drivers have the legal right to take action against the responsible person. Civil litigation allows people to recoup their medical expenses, lost wages and property damage costs after a drunk or distracted driver causes a significant accident.