New Orleans seems to be home to the perfect combination of factors for incredibly dangerous driving. The city is known as a seasonal and cultural drinking destination, especially during Mardi Gras. The tendency of tourists to overindulge while visiting can lead to people who are both unfamiliar with the roads and under the influence of drugs or alcohol driving on the streets.

Those aren’t the only risks. There is also the serious concern of drowsy driving from people who are too tired to be behind the wheel, as well as distracted driving. Tourists and locals alike may feel the need to respond to text messages or emails while driving. Some might even use social media to show off their current location.

Distracted driving is far more common than people realize, and it is one of the top causes of collisions in the United States.

A little distraction goes a long way

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even minor distraction can mean major issues. If you’re driving at 55 miles an hour, which is a common speed limit, looking down at your phone for five seconds will mean that you drive the length of an entire football field. In other words, you have driven the length of a football field without looking at the road and watching for pedestrians or other issues.

It’s very easy to see how this could drastically increase the risk of a collision. You can also see how it applies to other forms of distraction, like leaning over to grab something out of another seat or messing with the radio instead of looking forward.

Distraction doesn’t only come from screens

Although most people associate distracted driving with cellphones, distraction related to other people in the vehicle or something you focus your mind on instead of driving, such as daydreaming, can also lead to crashes.

While it is wise to avoid cellphones and to watch for telltale signs of other drivers texting at the wheel, cellphone users are not the only distracted drivers you need to watch for on Louisiana roads. If you see signs of someone talking in an agitated manner, possibly arguing, someone eating or failing to notice important things, like changing traffic signals, these could all be warning signs of a distracted driver.

Changing your route or slowing down enough to let the distracted driver gets significantly ahead of you is probably in your best interest. Unfortunately, with so many distracted drivers on the road, it simply isn’t possible to avoid all of them. Anyone who gets hurt by a distracted driver should discuss their legal options for compensation with an experienced Louisiana personal injury attorney.