Everyone must pass a test to become a licensed driver, but the fact of the matter is not everyone is a great driver. And even great drivers make mistakes sometimes and get distracted. While more and more we are hearing about cell phones being the main cause of distracted driving, it was an issue long before our phones became like computers in our pockets.
Distracted driving comes in a multitude of forms, some more extreme than others, but all carrying a burden of risk. Studies have shown that distracted driving slows down reactions to important driving events (i.e. stopping at a stop light).
The different types of distractions
- Visual: Keeping your eyes on the road is a necessity, though you obviously knew this already. However, when you’re on your way to a location you’ve never visited in a town you’ve never been in, you might find yourself concentrating more on the buildings around you, and less on the road.
- Manual: While a lot of people commonly think of this as using a cell phone, it can include eating in the car, changing the dial on the car radio, etcetera. They key is taking your hands off the wheel.
- Cognitive: You may have your hands on the steering wheel in the correct position, have your cell phone tucked away, and have your car radio off. But that doesn’t mean that your mind won’t wander. After all, people live busy lives and it’s commonplace to be thinking about where you’re headed, who you’ll see, and what you’ll do.
The sheer range of distractions accounts for a significant uptick in accidents in the past several years.
Sometimes it leads to accidents
Even the best drivers get distracted. In all fairness, there are countless ways to get distracted while operating a motor vehicle, whether it’s the egregious phone use or simply looking around to see if you missed your turn. Staying vigilant about distracted driving is important, and if you suspect that an accident may have been the result of negligence, talk to a legal professional. Until then, be mindful of your surroundings and practice safety to the best of your ability.