Distracted driving: 3 types of distractions

Focusing on the road is the best way to ensure your safety. However, distractions can happen, and even the smallest instance can lead to a dangerous accident.

Distracted driving causes the deaths of around nine people and injuries of over 1,000 each day in the United States. For South Dakota commuters to remain safe, it’s crucial to understand the different types of distractions they might face behind the wheel.

Manual distraction

When you take your hands off the wheel, you’re engaging in manual distraction. A common occurrence of manual distraction is eating or drinking while driving. When you’re focusing on your food, you’re taking attention away from the road, which can put you at risk of an accident.

Other examples of manual distractions include reaching for something you dropped, adjusting your seat, taking off a sweater or coat, or applying makeup while driving. Keeping your hands on the wheel ensures you are in control of your vehicle and can help you avoid a severe collision.

Visual distraction

As it sounds, visual distraction is when something takes your eyes off the road. This can include checking your GPS, checking on a passenger, or reading billboards as you pass them.

Visual distractions can also come from simply looking around at the scenery as you drive, especially if you’re in a new place. You might find yourself easily distracted, and even a split-second where you take your eyes off the road can lead to an accident.

Cognitive distraction

This type of distraction might not seem as serious because you have your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel. However, cognitive distractions are dangerous because if you’re not focusing on driving, you’re not safe.

Some examples of cognitive distractions include making a mental checklist of groceries to buy after work, talking with a passenger or over the phone on a hands-free device, and listening to an audiobook or podcast.

Texting and driving

Texting combines all three types of distractions because your hand is holding your phone and your eyes are on the screen. As you think about what to type, your concentration is not on the road. With all these elements at play at once, texting becomes one of the most dangerous driving distractions.

Staying safe

We’re all human, and we’re all susceptible to distractions. However, you can minimize the risks by limiting the number of passengers in your car and waiting until you’re at home to eat, drink, or reply to a text.

If you’ve been in an accident with a distracted driver, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you receive compensation.