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Briefly taking eyes off of the road can be risky

Tennessee drivers might be interested to learn about a new study that shows glancing from the roadway for just two seconds can increase the risk of a car crash. The findings were issued by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety in April to correspond with National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that drivers limit glances from the roadway to two seconds or less to avoid accidents. However, the Research Institute discovered that a driver's eyes require a moment to readjust when they refocus on the road, which translated into an increase in risk.

Researchers used driving simulators and eye-tracking equipment to measure the driving performance and reactions of experienced drivers as they maneuvered through various driving scenarios. They then asked study participants to fill out a questionnaire rating their perceived driving performance. The results indicated that two-second visual interruptions reduced the drivers' ability to avoid hazardous situations compared to participants who kept their eyes on the road. Further, distracted drivers gave themselves an average performance score of 70 out of 100, indicating they may not have been fully aware of the impact the distractions had on their performance.

This study underscores the dangers of distracted driving, which seriously injures or kills thousands of people across the U.S. every year. Anyone who has been injured in a collision caused by a distracted driver may wish to discuss their legal options with an attorney. By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party, it may be possible to obtain compensation for medical costs, lost wages and other damages that may have been sustained.

Source: Claims Journal, "In-Vehicle Two Second Glance Increases Driving Risk: Liberty Mutual," April 16, 2015

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