Driving distractions are hard to avoid, because they can take many forms. For example, a parent can be distracted by a child in the car, or a teenager could be distracted by a phone.
But one thing that you can do to help keep yourself safe is to understand the three categories of distracted driving. When you see the risks that you face, and how you can avoid them, then you can drive safely. These three categories are below, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first thing to remember is that distractions can be mental. You can be holding onto the steering wheel and you can be looking at the road, but you may still be distracted. Some cognitive distractions include daydreaming, becoming lost in thought or simply feeling emotionally connected to the music that’s playing in the car.
The second category is manual distractions, which means that you’re not fully in control of the vehicle. An example is holding a cellphone to make a call. Even talking on the phone means that you take one hand off of the wheel, which is a distraction.
The final category is visual distractions, which are things that mean a driver isn’t looking at the road while operating a vehicle. One example could be looking down at a phone to type a text message or looking at the screen while using a GPS device. Other examples include gawking at accidents, reading billboards or looking for street signs.
One very important thing to note about cellphones is that they manage to combine all of these different categories of distraction. If someone is talking on the phone or writing a text message, they are thinking about the contents of that message, which is a cognitive distraction. They’re also holding the phone with at least one hand, which qualifies as a manual distraction. They may glance up at the road or try to keep their eyes on traffic, but they are undoubtedly looking down at the screen to tap buttons or simply to pick up the phone. That’s a visual distraction. This is why phones are so dangerous on the highway.
Even if you avoid these activities, you could still be injured in an accident caused by another distracted driver. If you are, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.