There are two ways to look at distracted driving. First, you can think of it as something with a nearly endless list of causes. Texting and driving is one of the most common, but you also have people doing their grooming on the way to work, talking to their children in the back seat, trying to choose a new playlist on their phones and drinking a morning cup of coffee — just to name a few.
The truth is that, while you can cite an incredible amount of specific causes for distracted driving, there are just three main ways that it happens. Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are:
Cognitive distractions are mental distractions. For instance, maybe a passenger asks you a difficult question and you are trying to think of the answer rather than paying attention. Maybe you’re driving alone and you just get lost in thought because you’re bored. If you don’t think about driving, it is a distraction.
Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off of the road. You might look down to change the radio station or you may turn to look at a crying child in the back seat. You can even get distracted by something outside of the car, such as a billboard or an advertisement.
Manual distractions are those that cause you to let go of the wheel with one or both hands. A very common example is when you drop something and then reach down to pick it up. Even car-related operations, like adjusting your mirrors, can constitute a manual distraction.
Texting and driving
As you may know, texting and driving is one of the biggest distractions out there. The main reason that it’s so dangerous is that it checks all three boxes.
Say you have your phone in your pocket, set on vibrate. You feel it buzz, meaning you got a text.
First, you take a hand off of the wheel to get it out of your pocket. You then proceed to hold it in your hand. You look down at the phone to unlock it and/or to read the text message. So far, you’re facing a manual distraction and a visual distraction. Then you read the message, think about what it says, and decide how you want to reply. Even if you look back up at the road, that’s still a cognitive distraction.
Car accidents and injuries
You can easily avoid texting and driving. Maybe, knowing how it works, you will. Unfortunately, other drivers will not. If someone hits you and it leads to serious, life-changing injuries, you may need to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more.