There’s no question that distracted driving is a major problem on this nation’s highways – but most people don’t really understand how “distractions” are defined.
Sure, using your cellphone to send a text message when you’re barrelling down the highway at 65mph is bad – but do you realize that tapping the “scan” button on your radio to find a new song while you’re driving could be equally dangerous?
Here’s what you need to know about the three kinds of distractions that can affect your ability to focus behind the wheel:
What are the three types of driver distractions?
Basically, every potential distraction a driver can face involves one or more of the following:
- Visual distractions: These include anything that draws your eyes away from the road, whether it’s a flashing billboard or your own navigation system.
- Manual distractions: These are things that require you to take a hand off the wheel, like fishing around your bag to make sure you remembered your wallet or unwrapping a snack bar.
- Cognitive distractions: These cause your focus to shift away from driving, which can easily happen if you’re chatting with a passenger or just thinking about an argument you had before you left the house.
The vast majority of things that can cause a driver to make a mistake behind the wheel actually combine more than one of these types. For example, if you take your morning coffee with you in the car, you may be thinking more about drinking it than your driving. Then, you have to glance down away from the road while you reach down with one hand to pick it up. What seems like a swift, fluid action that you’ve practiced hundreds of times is actually a series of small tasks – and human beings simply don’t multitask very well.
Distracted driving can have devastating consequences for everybody – including other drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Far too many people don’t educate themselves about the dangers, so you can be perfectly responsible and still end up in a wreck. If that happens to you or your loved one, find out what it takes to get fair compensation for your losses.