The best way to stay safe behind the wheel is to be alert, to be a defensive driver and to avoid distraction at all costs. Distracted driving is a term that is used to describe a lot of different specific scenarios, from talking to children to texting on your phone. This can make it a little bit difficult to pin down exactly what distracted driving looks like.
One of the best ways to think about it, however, is to consider the three different types of distracted driving identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will explore what each of them looks like below.
Cognitive and mental distractions are things that will take someone’s mind off of the road and lead to driving mistakes that they would not have made if they were feeling more alert. Someone can be looking at the road and still be mentally distracted so they’re not really seeing what’s happening around them. A good example is when someone is so engrossed in their music that they stop paying attention.
A lot of the most common types of distractions people tend to think about are manual distractions, meaning that someone is just not holding the steering wheel with both hands. Many people do this so often that they think it is common and safe as they pick up the phone, take a drink of a cup of coffee or something of this nature. But it is actually very risky and two hands should always be on the controls.
Finally, it’s quite easy to have your eyes pulled away from the road and suffer from a visual distraction. Even looking for your exit can be a visual distraction, but so can looking down at the screen of a phone to write a text message, looking at the camera while trying to take a picture or turning your head to talk to a passenger. Even a split second of distraction can cause an accident.
What should you do next?
Distracted drivers are incredibly common. If one of them injuries you in an accident, make sure you know how to seek financial compensation.