Is the driver in the car next to you taking a selfie?

Is the driver in the car next to you taking a selfie?

| Feb 13, 2017 |

Perhaps you have seen it all. Folks singing and shimmying as they drive to work, and parents taking their eyes off the road for too long while dealing with rowdy kids in the back seat. Now there is a new distracted driving phenomenon to contend with: taking selfies.

Selfies are everywhere

There is just something about smartphones and their cameras that make drivers throw caution to the wind. This holds true whether they are steering a car or riding the waves on a boat. Some drivers do wait until a car is stopped to snap away, but doing so is still dangerous. For example:

  • They may not see that a car behind them is poised to bump into their rear end.
  • They may miss the red light turning green, prompting other drivers to get frustrated.
  • They might not see the pedestrian who has begun to cross, and they could end up hitting the person.

Selfies behind the wheel are risky, whether a car is still or in motion. (And to get technical, it is possible that the driver next to you is photographing the scenery instead of taking a selfie. Still, it counts as distracted driving and could end up injuring a person in another car.)

Who takes selfies (at least while driving)

Older adults are not in a high-risk category when it comes to selfies behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, the guilty parties are often teenagers and adults in their early 20s. That said, all sorts of people snap away. Even some pilots take selfies while they fly, as do motorcyclists across the age spectrum.

For Michigan, the good news is that the state does not rank in the top 10 among people who post #drivingselfies on Instagram. California, Nevada and Florida top the list, according to the Auto Insurance Center. On the other hand, Michigan was not in the bottom 10 either. Folks in Mississippi, Oklahoma and Ohio apparently post the fewest driving selfies, and it is safe to assume that many drivers in Michigan have taken a selfie or two.

Distracted driving is a real problem, whether it takes the form of selfies, cellphone chatting, wardrobe adjustments, internet surfing or something else. If you are on the road and close to a distracted driver, put some space between you, and try to take another route if possible. If you have been hit by such a driver, a lawyer can educate you on your rights and on Michigan no-fault insurance.