Types of distracted driving and how to remain safe

Distracted driving remains a major problem throughout the country, due, in large part, to the use of technology by drivers.

It's important to understand two things:

  • There is more than one type of distracted driving
  • You can do things to prevent distracted driving in your own vehicle, but you don't have any control over other drivers

Let's start by examining the three primary types of distracted driving:

  • Manual distraction. This is when a person takes one or both hands off of the steering wheel. There are many reasons for this, such as answering a phone call, adjusting the radio or reaching for something under the seat.
  • Visual distraction. This occurs when a driver looks at something other than the road ahead or the cars around one's vehicle. There are many visual distractions both inside and outside a vehicle, so it can be tempting for your eyes to wander.
  • Cognitive distraction. Some drivers find it difficult to focus on the task at hand. Instead of focusing on driving, they become preoccupied with what's happening at work, home or another aspect of their life.

Now that you understand the primary types of distracted driving, let's focus on tips for avoiding trouble:

  • Turn off your cellphone and put it in the glove box
  • Never turn around to see what's going on in the backseat
  • Don't become so preoccupied with conversation that you take your eyes and attention away from the road
  • Program your radio and GPS before you put your car in drive
  • Don't eat and/or drink when driving

It can be a challenge to do these things, especially if they're habit, but you need to change your ways. You may get away with a distraction today, but you may not be as fortunate tomorrow.

While you do your part in avoiding distracted driving, you hope that other drivers take the same approach. If you're involved in a crash with a distracted driver, first check yourself for injuries and then call 911. Once you do these things, you can turn to the cause of the accident and the way you can best protect your legal rights.

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