Distraction at 37,000 Feet - Lessons for the Road
Article provided by Lane & Lane, LLC
The scariest thing about distractions is how they sneak up on you. Usually, you're not aware that you are distracted until it's already too late. Most overestimate their ability to multi-task, and driving is a function best performed with full attention.
An extreme example of distraction occurred last month when two Northwest Airline pilots overshot the Minneapolis airport by about 100 miles. Before realizing their mistake, the two pilots had been unreachable by radio for over an hour.
What caused this lack of communication and missed destination?
Both men claim to have been on their laptops and say that they simply lost track of the task at hand - namely, delivering 144 passengers and five crew members to safety.
Luckily, nothing went wrong, and the plane was able to turn around, landing safely in Minneapolis. Still, by the time radio contact was reestablished, the White House was on alert and jet fighters were scrambling to search the skies for the missing plane.
In this case, like most involving distraction, the pilots were not aware of their mistake until they'd already made it. While you may never find yourself responsible for 149 people behind the wheel, you are certainly responsible for those traveling with you and other cars on the road.
More and more, states are attempting to curb distracted driving arising from the use of mobile devices. With more devices on the road, this is an increasingly prominent target and a good place to start. 18 states currently have texting bans in place, while another 6, including Illinois, impose more rigid restrictions on mobile phone use.
Though texting is the "usual suspect," you can be distracted by anything - from changing the radio to applying makeup. As a driver, it's absolutely essential that you are always aware of your surroundings in the car.
The case of Northwest Airlines' pilots, distracted by laptops and unaware of their location, highlights the importance of attentiveness through an extreme, but actual example. For over an hour, 144 passengers were off of the grid. For over an hour, two pilots browsed online while the plane flew without oversight. In that time, anything could have happened.
For drivers, tragedy can occur in a matter of seconds. There is no autopilot in the dashboard and if you're not watching the road, then no one is. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by a negligent driver, contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
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