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Drivers dangerously distracted by brief glances away from road

Some Georgia drivers may have heard advice from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that they should not take their eyes off of the road for more than two seconds at a time. However, according to a new study conducted by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, even two seconds is long enough to leave a driver dangerously distracted.

The study was done using driving simulators and eye tracking devices, and researchers found that drivers tended to have difficulty returning their attention to the road after they had looked away. This occurred even if the drivers observed a potential hazard such as a car pulling out on the roadway ahead of them. Drivers tended to forget to look for the hazard again even after just a brief glance away from the road.

Following the simulation, drivers were given a written test in which they were asked about their performance. The drivers rated their performance much more highly than was warranted. This suggested that drivers who did let their gaze wander from the road ahead of them were also unlikely to modify their behavior because they failed to realize how distracted they had been. The technical director of Liberty Mutual Risk Control Services said that the research needed to be better disseminated to the general public so that people would begin to understand that this behavior may lead to car accidents.

Glancing away from the road briefly in this manner may lead to a serious accident, and a person who is injured due to a driver doing so may wish to consult an attorney. It may be difficult to get adequate compensation from insurance companies, and in some cases, an injured victim may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible driver with the assistance of an attorney. Damages that are sought in such a civil suit can include medical expenses and lost wages.

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