The list of things that can contribute to distracted driving often feels nearly endless. Eating, drinking, texting, calling, talking and using the GPS are all examples.
That said, it's easier to break things down into three main categories. More specific distractions then fall neatly into one or more of the categories. They are:
- Manual distractions. These are physical distractions, often those that require you to take a hand off of the wheel. For instance, reaching down to pick up a cell phone that fell on the floor is a manual distraction.
- Visual distractions. These are things that cause you to look away from traffic and the road ahead of you. For instance, turning to talk to a child who is riding in the back seat is a visual distraction.
- Cognitive distractions. These are mental distractions that make you think about anything but driving. For instance, simple daydreaming is a cognitive distraction. It doesn't matter if it's a positive thing, like planning out your vacation, or a negative one, like worrying about a meeting with your boss.
Thinking about these three areas really helps to show you why things like texting and driving are so dangerous. You have to look down to type your text message. You have to hold the phone in at least one hand to type it out. You have to think about the message, any previous messages and the recipient to decide what you're going to say. That means it's a manual distraction, a cognitive distraction and a visual distraction all at the same time.
Have you been hit by a distracted driver? If so, it's important to fully understand your legal rights.
Source: Esurance, "3 types of distracted driving," accessed Dec. 29, 2017