Distracted Driving: Three Types of Distractions and How to Avoid Them

Car accidents—they’re a scary situation and one most try to avoid. Unfortunately, with an average of 7,277,000 crashes in the U.S. in 2016 as estimated by The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), odds are, everyone will be involved in a car accident at least once within their lifetime.

Of the nearly 7.5 million crashes in 2016, the NHTSA reports that 34,439 were fatal, and of those, nine percent were caused by distracted driving.

When you think of being distracted while driving, your mind may default to texting and driving, and while this is most certainly a form of distracted driving, there are a multitude of other ways a driver can lose focus behind the wheel, and consequently, put themselves and others on the road at risk.

The Three Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is defined by the NHTSA as “any activity that diverts attention from driving safely”—but what does this all entail? It comes down to three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive.

Visual

If you’re taking your eyes off the road for any reason, you’re distracted. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Looking at your phone
  • Applying makeup
  • Searching through radio stations or your phone for a song
  • Looking through your car or purse
  • Staring at something as you pass by; drivers, pedestrians, stores, signs, car accidents 
  • Tending to your child or pet
  • Turning around to look in the back seat

Manual

Are your hands on the wheel at all times? If not, you’re driving while distracted. Which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Texting
  • Talking on the phone
  • Eating or drinking
  • Applying makeup or fixing appearance
  • Searching for something in your car, purse, bag, etc.
  • Handing something to a passenger in the back seat
  • Tending to your child or pet 

Cognitive

Thinking about work, school, or that thing you forgot to do? If your mind isn’t focus on driving, you’re distracted. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Daydreaming
  • Talking on the phone
  • Listening to music too loudly/dancing
  • Conversing with other passengers

Be a Safe Driver

It’s important to be aware of what distracted driving is and what you can do to be safe! What are some ways to stay focused while behind the wheel? Here are a few, simple tips:

  • Put your phone on airplane mode or in the trunk so you’re not tempted to text.
  • Allow yourself enough time to eat, get ready, etc. before driving.
  • Have what you need where you need it, so you’re not rummaging through bags, backseats, pockets, etc.
  • Set the radio to a station you enjoy or create a driving playlist so you don’t have to constantly change songs.
  • Visit the NHTSA online for more tips and information on distracted driving https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/distracted-driving

Share these facts and tips with friends and family to help keep them and other drivers on the road safe! If you’re involved in a distracted driving related accident, call (505) 888-4357 for the trusted Albuquerque car accident attorneys at Carter & Valle Law Firm today!