Driving can be a dangerous endeavor for all involved. A daydreaming driver. An inattentive pedestrian. A fatigued trucker. Adding actual distractions to the mix can make a dangerous activity deadly. While there are countless different driving distractions – from eating to personal grooming to reading a newspaper – they typically fall into three categories.
What Are The Three Main Categories Of Distractions?
Whether you are bored behind the wheel or simply trying to multitask to save time, distracted driving is an easy trap to fall into. Whether you are on a long trip, a boring work commute or it is simply late at night – you might attempt to pass the time by completing an activity while driving. These distracting activities, unfortunately, are too numerous to count. For the purposes of organization, however, they tend to fall into three categories: manual, visual and cognitive.
- Manual distractions are those which force a driver to remove his or her body from the control surfaces of the vehicle. Whether this means removing the hands from the steering wheel to reach into a bag of food to grab some chips or taking feet off the accelerator to change shoes before getting to the gym, a manual distraction prevents the driver from acting quickly to control the speed or direction of the vehicle.
- Visual distractions are those which force a driver to remove his or her eyes from the road. Looking at a passenger in the back seat, for example, or reading a magazine while driving can have a deadly result. Drivers fall into the trap of thinking “I’ll just look for a second.” Unfortunately, looking away from the flow of traffic for even a second can spell disaster.
- Cognitive distractions are those which entice a driver to lose mental clarity on the task at hand. Many people equate this to daydreaming, but that is not always the case. While daydreaming – letting the mind wander and become cluttered with thoughts about that conversation you had, or where you want to go for dinner, or that story you want to write for class – can be dangerous, it is not limited to the fantasy world. Some drivers might lose focus on driving while thinking about driving. For example, while driving on a crowded highway, a driver might become preoccupied with deciding on a new path – running his or her options through a mental checklist – failing to recognize stopped traffic around the bend in the road.
Millions of drivers every day become distracted while behind the wheel with no consequences – but this doesn’t mean you are immune to the dangers. As a distracted driver, a passenger in the vehicle or another driver sharing the road it is crucial to remain aware of your surroundings and aggressively act to maintain the safety of everyone on the highway, city streets or county roads. If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted driver, it is imperative that you discuss your case with a skilled attorney as soon as possible.