By now, most people realize that distracted driving is dangerous. But even so, this remains a major problem throughout the United States (and many other parts of the world). As a driver, it’s critical to understand the many types of distracted driving. This knowledge will help you avoid a situation in which you put yourself and others on the road at risk of an accident. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three categories of distraction that can come into play while driving:
- Visual: Taking your eyes off the road, such as to look at someone in the backseat.
- Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel, such as to grab for an object on the passenger seat.
- Cognitive: Taking your mind off driving, such as daydreaming.
1. TextingThis is the one that drivers are most familiar with. When texting, you take your eyes off the road and at least one hand off the vehicle. Additionally, you’re no longer concentrating on the task at hand. Protect against texting and driving by turning your phone off while operating your vehicle.
2. Talking on the PhoneYou may consider it safer than texting, but it can be just as dangerous. This is especially true if you’re holding your phone. If you must talk while driving, be sure to always use hands free technology.
3. Operating Vehicle ControlsThis includes but is not limited to navigation system, audio system, and HVAC controls. If you need to adjust any of these things, it’s best to do so while your vehicle is stopped. Sure, it only takes a handful of seconds to adjust the radio, but an accident could happen in that time frame.
4. Eating or DrinkingIt’s tempting to grab a bite to eat or down a cup of coffee on your morning or afternoon commute. However, both eating and drinking takes your attention away from the road and those around you.
5. Talking to PassengersIt’s okay to drive passengers — everyone does it — just make sure you don’t get so deep in conversation that it becomes a distraction. For instance, if you constantly find yourself turning around to tell your children to behave, that’s a distraction that can cause an accident.
6. Personal GroomingDo you ever get the urge to shave in the car to save time? Or how about applying your makeup? Maybe even brushing your teeth? Personal grooming is best left for home (or a stationary vehicle).
7. SmokingIf you enjoy smoking, do so when your car is stopped. When it’s moving, you only have one hand available to steer your vehicle. Furthermore, you have to use both hands to light your cigarettes.
8. Reaching for an ObjectThis could be anything from a toy for your child to your phone that slid under your seat. When you reach, you only have one hand on the wheel. You also take your eyes off the road.
9. Roadway DistractionYou never know what you’ll see when you look out your car window. It could be a fancy building, a unique billboard, or an interesting human being. Don’t get caught staring, as taking your eyes off the road — even for a second — is a risk.
10. ReadingAre you in the habit of reading while driving? This could be anything from a map to a book to your navigation system. Reading and driving don’t mix. If you have to read something, anything, stop your vehicle first. If you or a loved one has been injured in a distracted driving car accident, it’s important to do two things:
- Receive (and continue) to receive medical treatment as outlined by your medical team
- Take action to obtain compensation for your injuries and damages