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What are the different types of distracted driving?

On Behalf of | May 15, 2024 | Personal Injury

When you get behind the wheel, you may think that you are not distracted unless you use your cellphone. However, there are many types of distractions that can endanger your safety and the safety of other drivers around you.

Distracted driving contributes to thousands of accidents and fatalities each year. Understanding the different types of distractions that can divert your attention is important for promoting safer driving habits.

Visual distractions

Visual distractions occur when you take your eyes off the road. This can include looking at a GPS device, adjusting the radio or climate controls or even admiring scenery. Even a momentary glance away from the road can increase the risk of a collision.

Manual distractions

Manual distractions involve taking one or both hands off the steering wheel while driving. Examples include eating or drinking, reaching for objects inside the car or adjusting mirrors. When you remove your hands from the wheel, your ability to react quickly to changing road conditions is compromised.

Cognitive distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when your mind wanders away from the task of driving. Daydreaming, talking on the phone (even hands-free) or engaging in deep conversations with passengers can all divert your mental focus from the road ahead. Cognitive distractions can impair judgment and reaction times, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Auditory distractions

Auditory distractions involve sounds inside or outside the vehicle that draw your attention away from driving. This can include loud music, talking on the phone or listening to podcasts or audiobooks at high volumes. Loud noises can make it difficult for you to hear important auditory cues, such as horns or emergency vehicle sirens.

In many cases, distracted driving involves a combination of visual, manual, cognitive and auditory distractions. For example, texting while driving combines visual (looking at the phone), manual (typing) and cognitive (thinking about the message) distractions, making it one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving.