Over 1,000 people sustain injuries and nine people die in car accidents involving a distracted driver every day in the U.S., states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and you may have been in one of these crashes or know someone who was. Any distracted driving activity can increase the likelihood of an accident that results in injuries or death.
Distracted driving is more than simply texting and driving. There are three main types of driver distraction that can make it difficult for you to operate a vehicle, no matter your age or driving experience level.
- Visual distraction
You become visually distracted and elevate your chances of involvement in a motor vehicle crash when you take your eyes away from the road in front of you. For example, you are visually distracted if you look at your phone to get directions or gaze at something outside your window as you drive by it.
- Manual distraction
Manual distraction occurs when you remove your hands from the steering wheel. You can become manually distracted, for instance, if you take your hands off the steering wheel to eat, apply makeup or adjust the radio while your vehicle is in motion.
- Cognitive distraction
Driving is an activity that requires continual mental focus. When you stop focusing on driving, you become cognitively distracted. For example, if you get lost in your thoughts while you drive to work, you become cognitively distracted.
Although you can consider any activity that takes your full attention away from operating a car safely as distracted driving, texting while driving is one of the most dangerous. This is because texting and driving combines all three forms of driver distraction. Drivers should commit to putting their phone away before they drive and letting text messages wait until they stop to reduce distracted driving accidents and protect their safety and the safety of others on the road.