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Distractions delay driver reaction to roadway hazards

As South Carolina drivers know, taking their eyes off the road may lead to an accident. New research published by Liberty Mutual shows that the risk is due not just to the time looking at something or someone else but the time it takes a driver to refocus on the road. Earlier, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggested that turning one's gaze from the roadway should be limited to no more than two seconds. However, this recent study suggested that the issue is more complicated.

The study monitored how drivers react to stimuli by tracking eye movement while operating a simulated vehicle. Without distractions, drivers generally anticipate hazardous roadway conditions or aberrant acts by other motorists. New research shows that a driver's ability to react appropriately after being distracted for two seconds was lessened.

If a driver in this test was shown a hazardous condition or situation prior to taking his or her attention off the road, the driver was unaware of the risk when they looked back. This lack of retained information might suggest that driving might be impaired after distraction.The drivers in the simulated test were asked to rate their driving abilities despite the distraction. Overall, the drivers gave themselves high scores, indicating that there was little note of the danger distraction imposed.

When drivers fail to stay focused on the road, car accidents are more likely to occur, causing harm not only to the driver but often to passengers as well as others who are on the road. An injured victim of a motor vehicle accident that was caused by the negligence of another driver may be able to obtain compensation for the losses that were incurred through the filing of a personal injury lawsuit.

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