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Distracted driving: It’s more than texting and driving

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Distracted driving. The term often conjures up images of someone texting furiously behind the wheel, oblivious to the road. While texting is certainly a dangerous distraction, it’s just one piece of a much larger puzzle.

Distracted driving describes any task that takes a driver’s attention away from the crucial task of operating a motor vehicle safely. Exploring the different types of distractions and the dangers they pose can inspire motorists to stay focused on the road.

Beyond the text: Different distractions on the road

Distractions can be widely grouped into three main forms: visual, manual and cognitive distractions. Visual distractions take a driver’s eyes off the road, even briefly. Glancing at the phone, checking the GPS, admiring the scenery or looking back at a fussy child in the backseat are all examples of visual distractions.

Manual distractions take a motorist’s hands off the wheel. Fumbling with food or drinks, adjusting the radio or reaching for something that fell on the floor can compromise a motorist’s control over the vehicle.

Cognitive distractions take the driver’s mind off driving. Engaging in deep conversations with passengers, listening to a captivating audiobook or daydreaming can all distract the driver mentally from the act of driving.

The danger lies in the fact that distractions can often overlap. Texting while driving, for instance, combines all three types – visual (looking at the phone), manual (holding the phone) and cognitive (focusing on composing the text).

The staggering impacts of distracted driving

Distracted driving isn’t a harmless habit. It’s a serious threat to road safety with devastating consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nine people in the United States are killed every day in crashes involving a distracted driver. These crashes not only cause fatalities but also result in countless injuries and property damage. Yet, the impact goes beyond the immediate victims. Distracted driving tears families apart, burdens healthcare systems and creates a ripple effect of pain and suffering.

Keeping focus on the road

Fortunately, there are steps drivers can take to minimize distractions. The first and most obvious step is to put the phone away. Before even starting the car, drivers should silence their phones or put them on do not disturb mode. They can utilize hands-free calling options if absolutely necessary, but even those can be distracting. Motorists should also consider programming their GPS destination before hitting the road. This can further help ensure they avoid using the phone while driving.

Distracted driving is a largely preventable danger. By understanding the different types of distractions and taking necessary steps to minimize them, motorists can contribute to safer roads for all. With that said, drivers also have the option to pursue compensation for their injuries If a reckless motorist hits them, despite their own safety-conscious efforts.