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Distraction leads to a large number of motor vehicle accidents every year. There is no clear statistic on exactly how many crashes distraction actually causes. Statistics regarding the reason for a collision typically rely on eyewitness reports or self-reported behavior from those involved in the crash. Many individuals are loath to admit that distraction played a part in a collision.

Unless the distraction directly resulted from the use of a cellphone, it is very difficult to prove distraction. However, this doesn’t mean that it is that difficult to spot if you pay close attention to nearby vehicles.

The best way to keep yourself and the people in your automobile safe is to know what to watch for while on the road and to avoid distractions. There are many forms of distraction, but most of them can provide others with warning signs.

Distraction involves more than just the use of a mobile device

Obviously, you should keep an eye out for anyone who is openly using a mobile phone on the road. Whether they are talking into their phone or looking down at it as they text and drive, those are both warning signs of serious distraction that could have fatal consequences.

Beyond watching for a driver with a phone in their hands or whose, hands in their lap, with their face pointed downward, there are other warning signs to watch for.

Animated discussions and arguments are a major risk factor. Distraction caused by other people in the vehicle can be just as deadly as distraction caused by a cellphone. If you see somebody clearly in the midst of an argument, chances are good that their focus is far too divided for safety.

Someone eating or drinking at the wheel can also cause a crash. When people are focused on their next bite of burrito or trying to get their extra large coffee drink back into a cup holder, they may take their eyes and mental focus off the road.

Grooming behaviors are also a notable risk factor. If you see someone looking into their rearview mirror or into their visor mirror, give them plenty of space. Whether they want to fix their hair, check their makeup or adjust the radio, they aren’t paying full attention to the road around them.

You have the right to take action against distracted drivers that cause crashes

When a distracted driver causes a crash, the people in the other vehicle may end up paying for the distracted driver’s mistake. They may suffer serious injuries or massive property damage that insurance does not fully cover.

In either of these cases, the victims of the crash can hold the distracted driver legally accountable for their negligent behavior at the wheel. A personal injury lawsuit allows victims of distracted drivers to seek financial compensation for injuries, lost wages and property damage. Wrongful death lawsuits can help those who lose a loved one to distraction find some kind of justice, even if the criminal courts do not produce a conviction.