One of the most common causes of traffic accidents is distracted driving. If drivers paid more attention more often, a great percentage of car accidents simply would not happen. But the reality is that a sizable number of drivers regularly engage in distracted driving on the highways, city streets, and back roads of every state in the nation.
How Many Types of Distracted Driving Are There?
You may wonder, how many types of distracted driving are there? In today’s modern world, there are numerous ways in which a driver may be distracted while driving. And in most cases, there exists no reasonable justification for a driver to become distracted. For this reason, distracted drivers are typically found to be liable for accidents they are involved in.
So how many types of driver distractions are there exactly? There are many, all of which fit into one of three categories: visual, manual, and cognitive.
Visual distractions are quite dangerous. They take a driver’s eyes off of the road and away from the number of stimuli and factors drivers must balance while driving. Within one second or two, a driver who is visually distracted can find themselves in a horrific crash.
Common visually distracted behavior that drivers engage in include:
- Reading texts and other electronic communications
- Reading web pages
- Spending too much time watching a GPS tool
- Rubbernecking crashes on the side of the road
- Looking at other passengers
Sadly, the advent of portable electronic devices has increased the number of visually distracted driving cases. In turn, driving has become, at least in this sense, more dangerous. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a texting driver going 55 mph takes their eyes off the road for the entire length of a football field.
Manual distractions include those distractions that force drivers to take their hands off the wheel. Without both hands regularly on the wheel, a driver has a higher chance of causing or failing to avoid an accident.
Some of the most common manual distractions that drivers experience include:
- Texting and posting messages and content
- Reaching for objects
- Removing articles of clothing while driving, such as a jacket or shirt
- Eating and drinking
Drivers may also find themselves manually distracted by helping others with their seat belts or car seats. Sometimes drivers are distracted because of passenger drinking. You can check about open container law va to understand if is it legal or not.
Regardless of how a manual distraction occurs, the accidents that result are often serious and many times deadly.
Cognitive distractions are distractions of the mind that occur even when the driver’s hands are on the wheel and eyes are on the road. They cause a driver to lose focus on driving, making them unable to fully process the many variables that present while driving.
Examples of cognitive distracted driving include:
- Listening to audiobooks or podcasts
- Using hands-free devices, such as phones
- Talking to others in the vehicle
In other words, cognitive distractions rob drivers of a huge portion of the mental attention they need when driving. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), a driver using a hands-free device can potentially miss up to half of what they see through their windshield.
What makes cognitive distractions so deadly is that drivers are not always aware that they are being distracted in this manner. Take daydreaming as an example. A driver who begins daydreaming may not even realize they are doing so until something snaps them out of it.
On the other hand, drivers typically know when they are being distracted visually or manually. So, they do everything they can to prevent a crash when reaching for a dropped object or sending a text, for instance. But during cognitive distractions, this awareness of being distracted is often not present.
Consequences of Distracted Driving
No matter what type of distraction a driver succumbs to, the possible consequences are catastrophic and even deadly. If high speeds are involved, such as on a highway, the potential for death and destruction is even higher.
And when distracted driving is accompanied by other forms of negligent behavior, the chances of an accident occurring are astronomically high. Consider a speeding drunk driver who is also texting while driving. This motorist has an exponentially higher chance of causing a crash than someone who is simply texting.
Successfully avoiding distractions requires a conscious decision on the part of a driver to adhere to basic safety standards. It also requires a driver to be aware of and understand the various tempting distractions so as not to fall into them.
Avoiding distractions also requires a driver to recognize that they are not exempt from the danger that accompanies distractions. All too often, people who engage in distracted behavior feel themselves to be exempt from the rules and somehow immune to the dangers of distracted driving. So they text, daydream, or reach for items when they shouldn’t. It’s not until they experience a crash that they realize that the rules apply to them as well.
Avoiding Distracted Drivers
Even if you are not a distracted driver, you may still be at risk of experiencing an accident caused by one. But you can diminish this risk by staying hyperaware when driving. This awareness will help you identify potentially distracted drivers who might engage in one or more of the following behaviors:
- Lane drifting
- Driving far below the speed limit
- Driving erratically
If you are in the right position, you may also be able to actually spot a driver directly engaging in specific distracted behavior, such as texting or watching a video. If you do, you should safely move as far away from the distracted driver as possible.
Contact The Joel Bieber Firm for Experienced Representation Today
Have you been hit by a distracted driver and need help with what to do next? The skilled distracted driving lawyer at The Joel Bieber Firm is ready to listen and can fight to protect your rights. Contact our office today for a free consultation and learn how we can be of service.