The Three Types of Driver Distraction

Many driver behaviors and risk factors contribute to the surge of distracted driving-related crashes. Distracted driving is any activity that takes away the driver's ability to focus solely on the road. This can be sending a text message, eating your favorite meal while trying to steer, putting on your makeup, or even having side conversations with other passengers.

There are endless things that can steal a driver's attention from the road; sometimes, these distractions are intentional and unintentional. To prevent a severe motor vehicle crash, it's crucial to be an attentive and alert driver; you protect yourself and other drivers who share the road with you.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions are one of the most dangerous and frequently occurring types of distractions. This can be any activity that takes your eyes away from the road. Even a mere few seconds can significantly increase the risk of an accident; it's hazardous because it impairs the driver’s ability to assess their surroundings and slows their ability to make a sudden brake. These types of distractions can include:

  • Texting and driving.

  • Looking in the mirror, while putting on makeup.

  • Manually operating a GPS.

  • Looking at billboards or signs.

  • Changing the radio station or changing your playlist.

To prevent these types of distractions from taking hold of your attention span, it's vital to refrain from multitasking and keep your eyes straight on the road.

Manual Distractions

A manual distraction refers to when a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel; this is especially dangerous because it slows your reaction time and can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Some examples of this include:

  • Eating and drinking.

  • Applying makeup.

  • Adjusting the controls.

  • Taking off your coat.

  • Rummaging through items in your car.

  • Using your cellphone.

To prevent a crash, it's essential to have both hands secure on the steering wheel (keep them at ten and two).

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions are the most sneaky driver distractions because they are often unintentional. These distractions take away the driver's ability to focus and make sound decisions because they are not mentally present; this can cause drivers to miss exits or turns or lead to a more severe consequence. These distractions can take many forms; they can include:

  • Listening to an audiobook or podcast.

  • Conversing with another passenger while driving.

  • Daydreaming.

  • Listening to music.

It can be easy to get caught up in our thoughts and preoccupied with our to-do list, but it's essential to ensure our safety while driving by being alert and not letting cognitive distractions steal our attention from the road. You can also prevent cognitive distractions by limiting the number of passengers you allow in your vehicle, silencing your phone, and listening to calming or instrumental music while driving.

Peters, Habib, McKenna, Juhl-Rhodes & Cardoza, LLP has over 100 years of collective legal experience representing injured clients. If you were in a distracted driving-related crash, it's essential to speak with a skilled attorney to discuss your options. Contact us today at (530) 342-3593 to schedule a free consultation.