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Distracted driving comes in 3 main forms

Distracted driving comes in 3 main forms

People often focus on the specifics when talking about distracted driving. Common examples include texting and driving or turning around to talk to friends — or, for parents, their children — who are in the car with you.

These are different types of distracted driving, but one of the key things people need to understand is that there are literally hundreds of potential distractions. For example, did you know that adjusting the rear-view mirror is a distraction? So is daydreaming about your upcoming vacation. So is shouting at that driver who just cut you off.

Since there are so many specific examples, it’s often easier to break distracted driving down into three general categories. Everything else tends to fit into one or more of these categories. They are as follows:

  1. Cognitive distractions. A mental distraction pushes you to think about something else, taking your mind off of what you’re doing, even when you’re still looking at the road and holding the steering wheel. The daydreaming noted above is an example of a cognitive distraction. When you’re driving this way, you’re simply not focused on the road, the other traffic, the pedestrians, the traffic signals and all other important details. You can overlook something critical and cause an accident.
  2. Visual distractions. A visual distraction takes your eyes off of the road in front of the car, even for just a split second. Looking down to read a text message is a prime example, as is turning around to talk to the children. The road may look clear in front of you, leading you to believe that looking away is safe, but you would be appalled to know just how much distance you can cover at highway speeds. Some texting drivers cover an entire football field, for instance, without looking where they are going.
  3. Manual distractions. Taking your hands off of the controls or your feet off of the pedals means you’re physically distracted. Maybe you want to drive with your knees so that you can eat during your commute. Maybe you dropped your phone and you need to pick it up. Any time that you do not have your hands on the wheel, it means your reaction times are going to be worse in an emergency.

One more key thing to point out is that a lot of distractions hit multiple areas at once. If you reach down for your phone, you’re not holding the wheel and you’re looking at the floor. You may also be thinking about where it fell or if it slid under the seat.

Other drivers

You can avoid distractions by avoiding these three key areas. If other drivers do not do so, however, and they cause an accident, you may be able to seek compensation.

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