Can Smoking Impair Your Driving

Distracted driving is killing a lot of us. It has become very easy to become distracted in today’s world, especially because of technical gadgets, such as our phones. We think about our smartphones whenever we talk about distracted driving. However, another distraction that often goes unnoticed is cigarettes. 

You may be surprised to know that cigarettes can indeed cause a distraction to drivers and increase the risks of an accident. So, if you have been injured by a driver who was distracted due to smoking, you might have a claim. Consult with Philadelphia, PA personal injury attorneys to explore your legal options. 

Can smoking impair driving skills?

We have all heard the dangers and horrors of driving under the influence of alcohol, but no one talks about the dangers of smoking while driving. While alcohol causes a greater extent of impairment, smoking is no less. 

According to the AAA, smokers constitute about 1% of distracted drivers. While this percent may sound insignificant to you, remember that several hundreds of people are affected by this, and one of them could be you. 

The National Institute Of Health published a detailed report about the impact of smoking on driving. The report said that people who smoke while driving tend to be more distracted than people who use cell phones. The study showed statistics proving that smokers spend more time not looking at the road than cell phone users. 

How does smoking cause distraction while driving?

While tobacco does not get you drunk or high, it can still cause distraction in multiple ways, including the following. 

  • Visual distraction. 

Visual distraction is caused when the driver takes their eyes off the road. They may look away, trying to reach for their pack of cigarettes and lighter. 

  • Cognitive distraction. 

Cognitive distraction refers to when the driver’s eyes are on the road but take their mind off their driving tasks. This may happen when they try to remember where they have kept the cigarettes and lighter. Some people tend to smoke when they are stressed or worried about something. Therefore, that may also contribute to cognitive distraction. 

  • Manual distraction. 

Manual distraction refers to when the driver takes one or both hands off the steering wheel. This typically happens when they have to hold the cigarette in one hand and the lighter in the other to light it. After the cigarette is lit, they will keep one hand off the steering wheel for smoking and become distracted by the need to dispose of the ash into a tray or outside the window. The whole process can be very distracting. 

While the chances of colliding with another vehicle are slim, one should still avoid it. Smoking is terrible for your overall health and should be avoided altogether. You may think smoking while driving is not illegal, so you do not have a case. But, that is not so. While smoking is not illegal, not paying attention is.