Although speed and alcohol continue to be major contributors to car accidents, distracted driving is another major cause of collisions.
From fatal accidents to fender-benders, it’s important to understand what the types of distracted driving are. Once you do, you’ll know what you can do to avoid them when you’re behind the wheel.
Read on to discover what distracted driving is and how you can be more responsible when you’re on the road.
Whether you’re taking an important business phone call or checking your social media account, using a cell phone while you drive is a dangerous act. Many states have now made using a cell phone illegal if you’re behind the wheel. This is called visual distraction because it causes you to visually turn your attention to something else other than the road and other vehicles.
It might be tempting to answer the phone while you drive, but doing so can have serious consequences. Any time you take your eyes off the road, you’re putting yourself and other drivers at risk.
Teens tend to use their smartphones for social media posts, taking pictures, or just glancing down at the phone for general online use. However, adults are also just as culpable when it comes to using their phones while they drive.
If you absolutely must take a phone call, turn your car’s Bluetooth feature on and use the phone hands-free. You can also pull over to a safe location if the phone call is extremely important and can’t wait until you get to your destination.
Turn your smartphone off when you drive, or at least turn the ringer off. If you have a young driver in your household, educate them about the dangers of these types of distracted driving.
This category also includes turning your gaze toward other things like your GPS system, an onboard computer on the dashboard, or even something as simple as looking at your hair in the mirror.
If you need to take one or both of your hands off the wheel, it can cause manual impairment. This type of distracted driving encompasses a wide range of scenarios, as long as they require you to use your hand for anything other than driving.
Whether you’re eating your favorite fast-food breakfast or grabbing a cup of coffee, taking your hands off the steering wheel can result in a serious accident if you’re not careful. Another example might be tending to your children in the backseat or reaching for something on the seat or floorboards.
Smoking can also be considered a form of manual distracted driving since you need your hand to hold the cigarette or cigar. Other examples include rummaging through a bag or purse, fiddling with the radio, or turning knobs on your car’s control panel.
While this type of distracted driving is serious, it’s usually not quite as dangerous as a visual distraction. Do your best to find things you need and get your children buckled up safely before you start to drive.
Remember, if you cause an accident and it’s a result of distracted driving, you may need to hire an attorney. If the victim can prove that you were distracted, they may win their case against you.
For drivers who can’t steer the vehicle within a precise amount of time, an accident could result. That’s why it’s so important to try and keep both of your hands on the wheel at all times so you can always maintain complete control of your vehicle.
The term cognitive distractions can be a bit tricky since it doesn’t involve you physically looking away or taking your hands off the wheel. This term refers to any time your mind might be focused away from driving and on something completely different.
An example of cognitive distracted driving would be when you’re using your hands-free feature on your phone to engage in an important conversation. Or, perhaps you’re talking to other passengers in the car which can cause your mind to drift.
Other examples of this type of distracted driving can include daydreaming or even listening to and singing along with your favorite music. You might think that using a hands-free device is safer, but it’s actually not much safer than if you were to hold your phone in your hand.
Whenever you’re not focusing on the task of driving, you can miss things that are going on around you. Try your best to avoid mental distractions and keep your focus on driving until you get to your destination.
Even if it doesn’t seem like it, just the simple act of talking or thinking about something else has the potential to cause you to lose your focus. When you’re not giving your undivided attention to the road, that’s when accidents typically occur.
Stay Safe, Avoid These Types of Distractions
Now that you know more about the main types of distracted driving, it will be much easier to stay focused. Once you realize what tasks can cause you to lose your focus, you’ll be more aware of how to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Don’t be another statistic. Avoid distractions whenever you drive so you can assure that you stay safe as well as your passengers and other people who are sharing the road with you.
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