Distracted Driving: The Three Types and Their Dangers

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving happens in a second but its harm can last a lifetime. According to the AHTSA, more than 3,450 fatalities happen every year as the result of being distracted while driving.

You’ve likely seen the ads texting and driving prevention ads. These paint a very real story of what happens when you take your eyes off the road. Yet, cell phones are one of many ways you can become distracted.

This article shares the distraction types and the very real consequences of your action when you’re behind-the-wheel.

What are the Three Types of Distracted Driving?

The three types of distracted driving include:

  • Visual
  • Manual
  • Cognitive

The first, visual, can include anything from glancing around looking for something you dropped to fiddling with the radio. At any point your eyes are off the road, you are distracted from your vehicle’s operation.

The second, manual, involves anything physical whether you’re smoking or trying to cram a burger you just got at a drive-thru. The manual distractions usually involve one or both hands off the wheel causing a major delay in your reaction time if something were to happen.

The third, cognitive, involves your mind wandering and can be something simple like dozing off or zoning out or being under the influence. The mind isn’t 100% focused meaning you lack good judgment when reacting to traffic, unexpected events, or potential harm.

The Dangers of Texting while Driving

Texting while driving is among the worst of all distracted driving. Why? Because it usually involves all three distraction types!

You become:

  • Visually distracted by the phone
  • Manually distracted by its handling
  • Cognitively distracted by the interaction

It’s said people are 6x more likely to cause or get in an accident when they’re texting compared to those intoxicated! Reaction time plummets, causing most issues with texting and driving which may prove fatal!

Distracted Driving Laws and Their Consequences

The consequences of distracted driving vary by state but do have similarities in most states. This may include being banned from using a cell phone during motor vehicle operation or a GPS tracking device installed on your vehicle.

It’s not uncommon for people to receive a suspended or revoked license due to negligence from distracted driving. You will likely receive multiple points on your driving record for breaking these driving laws.

Worse, accidents and fatalities caused by distracted driving carry serious consequences from hefty fines to jail time.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving

You can prevent distracted driving by doing the following:

  1. Don’t text/call — This is a given, simply don’t use your cell phone during the vehicle’s operation. The text or call can wait until you’ve arrived and this goes for headsets since they, too, can distract you!
  2. Eat before driving — Went through the drive-thru? Park and chow down versus driving out of the lot. You’ll enjoy your food more and won’t get yourself in a situation trying to cram fries in with hands off the wheel.
  3. Stay calm and focused — Don’t let pets wander in the backseat nor should you let passengers shift and cause distractions. Make rules for the road they must respect else pull over and wait for them to calm down.
  4. Hands at 10 and 2 (always) — Set your radio before you head off and keep your hands on that wheel. Keep focused on the car ahead but use your peripheral to anticipate fellow drivers. Give yourself plenty of space and ease into stops and merges. Use your lights and mirrors!
  5. Stop and rest — Drowsy driving is dangerous, like drunk driving. Dozing off behind the wheel can cause accidents and fatalities. Don’t try to “power through” the trip, stop and rest.

It’s your driving responsibility to protect yourself and others when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle. Know the causes of distracted driving and understand the very real consequences if you cause harm doing so.

Stay safe out there!