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The triple threat: 3 kinds of distracted driving

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2024 | Personal Injury

Whether you commute to and from work each day or you’re just out running errands, you are going to be surrounded by other drivers when you travel by road – and not all of them are going to have their attention focused firmly on the task of operating their vehicles as safely as possible.

Distracted driving is a big issue – and many people don’t even realize how common it is.

What are the different types of distracted driving?

Distracted driving comes in three main forms:

  • Visual distractions: Visual distractions are anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road. Visual distractions can include glancing at a GPS, looking at billboards or accidents, and checking your mobile phone. Even turning to look at a passenger while they’re speaking – which is an unconscious reaction for many – can be a visual distraction.
  • Manual distractions: Manual distractions occur whenever a driver takes their hands off the steering wheel, which automatically compromises their ability to control the vehicle effectively. Some of the most common manual distractions involve eating lunch while on the go, handling a cup of coffee during a long commute or reaching for objects inside a bag.
  • Cognitive distractions: Cognitive distractions involve anything that causes a driver to divert their mental attention to something other than driving. These can be the hardest to combat because cognitive distractions are purely internal. A driver may still be contemplating the last text they received, rehashing a conversation in their head or just daydreaming.

Unfortunately, there’s usually a lot of overlap between one form of distracted driving and others. It’s no coincidence that smartphones are blamed for a lot of distracted driving accidents because they generally present a “triple threat.” Making or receiving a call, reading or sending a text or using social media while behind the wheel all require a driver to divert their eyes, at least one hand and their attention from the task at hand.

In a world where a lot of people pride themselves on their ability to “multitask” and every minute in the car seems wasted to them unless they’re doing something else at the same time, distracted driving accidents are virtually inevitable. If one happens to you, it may be time to seek more specific legal guidance in case you are entitled to significant compensation as a result of your harm.