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Understanding common types of distracted driving

On Behalf of | Apr 16, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Distracted driving remains a problem on roads, contributing to accidents and unsafe traffic conditions. As technology integrates more deeply into people’s lives, distractions increase, pulling drivers’ attention away from the road.

Understanding the various forms of distractions can help drivers recognize risky behaviors and make conscious efforts to avoid them. This awareness is important for maintaining safety and preventing accidents.

Visual distractions

Visual distractions occur when drivers take their eyes off the road. This type of distraction is common and can involve looking at a smartphone, searching for items in the car or turning to talk to passengers. Even glancing at a navigation system or changing the radio station can qualify as a visual distraction. It is important for drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times because a lot can happen in the few seconds they are distracted.

Manual distractions

Manual distractions happen when drivers take their hands off the steering wheel. This could involve holding a phone, eating or adjusting the car’s controls. When drivers use their hands for tasks other than steering, they lose a degree of control over the vehicle. To reduce risk, it is helpful to set up everything in the car before starting the trip and use hands-free devices if necessary.

Cognitive distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when something takes the driver’s mind off driving. This could be daydreaming, thinking about stressful events or being overly engaged in conversation with passengers or on a hands-free phone. Although the driver’s eyes might be on the road and hands on the wheel, their mind is elsewhere, which can delay reaction times to unexpected situations.

Auditory distractions

Sounds within or outside the vehicle can also lead to distractions. Auditory distractions include loud music, conversations among passengers or noises from electronic devices. These sounds can prevent drivers from hearing important cues like emergency vehicle sirens or car horns, which are important for reacting safely on the road.

Recognizing these types of distractions and actively working to minimize them can greatly enhance road safety. Drivers must remember that their primary focus should always be the task of driving to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road.