When was the last time you went for a drive and saw all attentive drivers? These days, it seems that drivers are distracted everywhere you look. Many of us associate the term “distracted driving” with texting. However, more and more people are engaged in the many other forms of distracted behavior every day, including eating, adjusting the GPS and grooming. What are the three categories of distracted driving and how dangerous are these actions?

Cognitive Distractions

Distracted driver and passengerA cognitive distraction occurs when your mind is on something other than the road. This has been a driving interference long before the recent advancements of technology! When you’re talking to passengers or thinking about a problem at work, you are not completely focused on traffic. It is never a good idea to go for a drive when you are upset or need to have a serious conversation with a passenger.

Manual Distractions

If you take one or two hands off the wheel to do anything, it is considered a manual distraction. This includes changing the radio station, eating, applying makeup and reaching into your bag. Although almost everyone is guilty of controlling the radio while driving, all of these activities take your focus off of the road, which can lead to a serious motor vehicle accident.

Visual Distractions

Drivers who take their eyes off the road for any reason are engaging in a visual distraction. Looking at a cell phone is the most common, yet checking on the kids or dog in the backseat, consulting a map or glancing down to unwrap a granola bar are also forms of visual distraction. Arguably, this type of distraction is the most dangerous of all.

The Triple Threat

Unfortunately, many actions fall into all three categories of distracted driving. For example, when you program your GPS behind the wheel, you are no longer looking at the road, you have at least one hand off the wheel and you’re thinking about your destination. The result of such behavior is nearly 3,200 annual fatalities and an additional 431,000 injuries. If you’re unsure whether or not your behavior constitutes distracted driving, keep in mind that the following behaviors fall under the umbrella:

  • Adjusting the GPS or radio
  • Conversing with other passengers
  • Eating and drinking
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Reading a map
  • Texting, emailing or talking on a cell phone

We encourage drivers young and old to take the pledge against distracted driving. If you’ve been injured in an accident as the result of another motorist’s distracted behavior, contact our car accident attorneys today for a free legal consultation.