Distracted driving remains a critical issue that affects everyone, regardless of age or experience level. With increasing road traffic and seemingly constant pings from digital devices, it’s more crucial than ever to understand what causes distractions and how they impair the ability to drive safely.
Many people immediately think of mobile phone use when they’re asked to define distracted driving. However, the issue is much broader, encompassing three main types: manual distractions, visual distractions and cognitive distractions. While some distractions include only one of these forms, others include more than one type.
Manual distractions relinquish control
Manual distractions happen when a driver takes one or both hands off the steering wheel. This could be to change the radio station, grab a drink from the cup holder or even adjust the car’s heating or cooling system. It’s easy to underestimate how much these actions can compromise driving.
Visual distractions are more common than you think
Visual distractions pull a driver’s eyes away from the road. Maybe they’re trying to read a text message, or looking at an accident on the side of the road. Whatever the case, their attention is diverted from where it should be.
Cognitive distractions are a silent but severe issue
Cognitive distractions might be the hardest to detect because they involve your mental focus. A person can’t fully concentrate on driving when they’re lost in thought or deeply engrossed in an audiobook or podcast.
Even short distractions can be deadly
If a person is going 55 mph and looks away for just five seconds to grab a snack, they’ll have traveled the length of a football field without looking. That’s plenty of time and distance for something catastrophic to occur. Drivers who need to do something that involves taking their hands off the wheel should find a safe place to pull over first.
Victims of distracted driving crashes often suffer serious injuries that require intensive medical care. This can be costly, and they shouldn’t be responsible for paying these expenses. These individuals may opt to pursue a claim for compensation against a negligently-distracted driver to help cover the financial impact of their harm. Which should serve as even greater motivation for drivers to avoid distractions when operating their vehicles.