How Risky Driving Behaviors Affect Reaction Time in Alaska Auto Accidents


No matter what type of dangerous driving behavior you look at closely, you will find that virtually all have one common denominator — risky activities behind-the-wheel have deadly implications for reaction time. Some factors operate to reduce the available time a motorist has to react, while others increase how long it takes for the motorist to prepare an appropriate response. Regardless, to avoid accidents, it is up to the driver to avoid behaviors that affect reaction time.


Of course, not all motorists take seriously their duty to drive safely. If you were hurt in a collision, there is a good chance that risky misconduct and reaction time were factors, so you may have legal remedies against the at-fault driver. You can rely on an Alaska motor vehicle accident attorney to handle the legal tasks, but understanding the impact of reaction time is useful.


The Importance of Reaction Time in Auto Collisions:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains the role of reaction time, which is a product of three factors:

  • The time a driver needs to realize there is a threat and a response is required;
  • The time it takes the motorist to determine the appropriate response and act on it; and,
  • The time the mechanical systems of the vehicle require to affect the actions taken by the driver.


The NHTSA uses the example of speeding to show how reaction time affects accidents. Traveling at 40 mph, a motorist needs 164 feet to come to a stop. At a speed of 70 mph, that distance turns into 387 feet.


Impact of Driver Behavior on Reaction Time 

Safe driving generally involves giving yourself the time and distance you need to go through these steps, and avoid an accident in doing so. In other words, a motorist who voluntarily engages in certain acts compromises reaction time. When environmental or weather factors reduce reaction time, it is up to the driver to adjust. Some of the most dangerous behind-the-wheel activities that affect reaction time include:

  • Drunk or Drugged Driving: These substances have implications for cognition and perception, impairing your ability to recognize a hazard.
  • Cell Phone Use: Every fraction of a second that a driver is staring at the screen translates into significant reductions in reaction time.
  • Tailgating: Following too closely affects both time and distance as they relate to reaction time, and the space motorists must leave increases with higher speeds.
  • Motorist Fatigue: Even if a driver does not fall completely asleep, dozing off and drowsiness can have implications almost as severe as drunk driving.


Set Up a Free Consultation With an Alaska Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

Not having sufficient reaction time can be indication of negligence, the theory of liability that underlies auto crashes in Alaska. By presenting evidence of unsafe driving, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and many other losses. For more information about your rights, please contact Power & Power Law to schedule a no-cost case review today.