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Distracted driving sounds dangerous, and most people admit that it is. They know the risk. The problem is that they think that taking the risk for “just a second” is all right.

That’s why they look down to read a text message or change the radio station. They know that looking away from the road means they’re more likely to crash, but they tell themselves that they can do it quickly and everything will be fine.

All too often, it’s not. Distraction cuts back on your reaction times. When you’re traveling at a high rate of speed, you may not have long to react already, and losing any of that time could make accident avoidance impossible.

“So you’re slowing down for a few seconds, and let’s say a kid is crossing that street,” said one police officer, walking through the risks. “You didn’t perceive them crossing the street initially. You glance down. You’ve traveled maybe a hundred feet. All of a sudden, you’re looking down and that danger is right in your face and you only have a few seconds to react now.”

Is that text message worth it? In the face of an accident, it’s obvious that it isn’t. But people still crash while sending or reading these messages all the time, and regretting it in the wake of a crash doesn’t change the fact that the accident happened. People wind up in the hospital and some even lose their lives.

No matter where you drive, distracted drivers pose a risk. If one of them hits you, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation for your injuries.