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Short visual distractions increase accident risk

Colorado residents might benefit from learning the results of a recent study on driver behavior, distraction and accident risk. The study, conducted by Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, focused on the impact of short distractions while driving.

The study found that even very short distractions, such as those limited to two seconds or less, can negatively impact an experienced driver's reaction to a potential hazard. Within a few seconds, a vehicle traveling 70 miles per hour will continue to travel about 200 feet. When drivers looked away from the road to glance at their cell phones, for example, they consistently missed hazards, which could result in motor vehicle accidents. The report also found that when the visual distraction was limited to two seconds, drivers needed a transition period to readjust to the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers should limit the time they look away from the road to under two seconds as a way to maintain focus and minimize the risk of accidents. The study, which was conducted in the driving simulators of the Research Institute and included a survey filled out by the participants after their driving experience, found that the two-second distraction was not only long enough to potentially result in an accident, but that drivers often did not even realize that they had missed the hazards after the distraction.

Distraction is a recurring factor in many car accidents and might be used in a civil personal injury claim as evidence to prove negligence on the part of a liable driver. Armed with this knowledge, Colorado drivers can be more aware of what is going on around them and use preventive driving as an attempt to avoid accidents.

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