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Joseph H. Downer, Attorney

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What are the different types of driver distraction?

On Behalf of | Apr 2, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

When drivers no longer pay complete attention to the road in front of them, distracted driving occurs. Although many drivers assume texting and driving is the main type of distraction, many other activities can be just as dangerous.

Distracted driving poses a significant risk on the roads, contributing to numerous accidents and injuries each year. Understanding the different types of distractions while driving can help promote safety.

Visual distractions

Visual distractions occur when drivers take their eyes off the road. Examples include looking at a cellphone to read or send messages, checking GPS navigation systems or maps or watching digital screens in the vehicle, such as infotainment systems.

Manual distractions

Manual distractions happen when drivers take their hands off the wheel. This can involve holding and using a cellphone for calls or texts, eating or drinking while driving, adjusting radio controls or changing music or performing grooming tasks like applying makeup.

Cognitive distractions

Cognitive distractions divert the driver’s attention from driving tasks. Examples include having conversations with passengers, daydreaming or getting lost in thought, dealing with stressful situations that occupy the mind or planning and thinking about non-driving-related tasks.

Combination of distractions

Many instances of distracted driving involve a combination of visual, manual and cognitive distractions. For example, texting while driving combines visual distraction (looking at the phone), manual distraction (using the phone) and cognitive distraction (thinking about the conversation).

To prevent accidents caused by distracted driving, drivers should recognize and minimize distractions. Stay focused on the road, limit distractions and practice safe driving habits.