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The risk of a 2-second glance while driving

Distracted driving on open highways in Kansas may not seem dangerous, but a study by Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety shows that even a brief glance at something in the car can greatly increase the chance of a crash. Although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers look away from the road for no more than two seconds, the study showed that there is a period of readjustment when individuals look away. Because of this readjustment time, a two-second glance could be more dangerous than previously believed.

The Research Institute used a driving simulator and eye-tracking equipment to monitor test subjects' reactions and performance in both hazardous and non-hazardous scenarios. Drivers in the study who experienced a two-second visual interruption proved less able to react to potential hazards. Moreover, drivers who observed an emerging hazard before the interruption tended to forget about it afterwards.

What investigators found troubling about the study results was that visually distracted participants did not seem to recognize that their driving was impaired by the distractions. Instead, they rated themselves highly for driving performance. This finding raises the concern that most drivers are not aware of the negative impact of looking away from the road for a short time.

As car navigation and entertainment systems increase in sophistication and complexity, the potential for distracted driving increases as well. Car accident victims may be able to make a personal injury or wrongful death claim based on distracted driving by the other party. When pursuing such actions, it may be helpful to work with an attorney who knows how to detect evidence of distraction.

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