Driving is a skill that requires your full attention. However, sometimes you may become distracted. Taking your eyes off the road or letting your attention wander for even a second can lead to a serious accident.
Distracted driving accounts for numerous vehicle accidents. It’s important to understand the different types of distractions you may face and how to avoid diverting your attention.
1. Manual distraction
Manual distraction occurs when you take your hands off of the wheel. Eating and drinking are common forms of manual distraction. Other examples include reaching for something in the back seat, taking off your coat, and adjusting your seat. Keeping your hands on the wheel is crucial to maintaining control and taking swift action to avoid a collision.
2. Visual distraction
This one is pretty self-explanatory. We are accustomed to multiple things all vying for our attention that we may not even be aware that we’re distracted. Checking your GPS, looking at a billboard, or even just taking in the scenery are all examples of visual distractions. You should always focus your attention on the road ahead of you. Make a conscious effort to tune out visual distractions.
3. Cognitive distraction
This is the one type of distraction that doesn’t involve you taking your hands off of the wheel or your eyes off of the road. However, it does involve your focus being taken away from the task at hand. Running through a mental checklist or thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner are examples of cognitive distractions. Do your best to keep yourself from daydreaming when you’re behind the wheel.
Avoid combining all three distractions
All of the above distractions are dangerous enough on their own. When you engage in an activity that combines all three, you’re taking a substantial risk. Texting and driving takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road, and diverts your mental attention elsewhere. Wait until you’re out of the car to respond to that text. Better yet, turn off your phone or lock it in the glove box before you begin your journey.
By minimizing the potential for distractions, you help keep the road safe both for yourself and your fellow travelers.