Driving in New York, the roads can be hazardous even during the best of times. And even if you’re doing everything right, accidents can happen. This is especially true when the drivers around you are driving recklessly.
While many motor vehicle accidents are the result of drunk driving, texting while driving or fatigued drivers, simple distractions account for a surprisingly high number of collisions. Spotting distracted drivers and protecting yourself from them is crucial while on the road.
Signs of a distracted driver
In some cases, it can be incredibly obvious that a driver isn’t putting their full attention into driving and the traffic situation. Drivers who swerve from lane to lane or increase/decrease speed rapidly for no reason are usually either distracted or impaired and are at great risk of getting into an accident. But there are subtler signs as well.
A driver going slightly under the speed limit is often a giveaway that you’re dealing with a distracted driver. Another telltale sign is a vehicle that pauses at stop signs and lights for too long. Sometimes, you can even observe a driver’s head being down or turned away from traffic.
How to protect yourself from a distracted driver
If you’ve identified a distracted driver, the first thing to do is protect yourself in the immediate future. Usually, that means putting some distance between your vehicle and theirs. Don’t do anything reckless like slamming on the brakes or accelerating to pass them. Calmly reduce your speed to give yourself a safe following distance in case they do something erratic.
Once you’ve made sure you’re not in any immediate danger from the distracted driver, you have two courses of action: Either proceed on your way or call the police if you believe they’re a danger to others on the road. Do not attempt to signal, pull over or interact with a distracted driver yourself. That’s best left to the authorities.
Distracted drivers are hazard on the roads, and part of being responsible is learning to identify and avoid them. You can minimize the danger of distracted drivers by paying attention and knowing what to look for.