When you picture a distracted driver, do you imagine a teenage driver looking down at a cellphone while driving on the freeway? This generalization is not completely wrong because cellphones are a common distraction and statistics show that many teenage drivers use their phones while driving. However, anyone can succumb to driving distractions, which can include a variety of activities other than cellphone use.
Distracted driving is preventable. Yet it contributed to crashes that claimed over 3,000 lives in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's most recent data. To prevent needless injuries and deaths, it is important to avoid all types of distractions when driving.
Distractions can be visual, manual or cognitive
There are three types of driving distractions to watch out for. Visual distractions take your eyes off the road. Manual distractions take your hands off the steering wheel. Cognitive distractions take your mind off driving.
Texting while driving garners a lot of attention from prevention campaigns because it takes your eyes off the road, hand off the wheel and mind off driving. However, a recent study showed that 18% of drivers have done their hair or makeup while driving, 13% have played with a pet while driving and 12% have changed clothes while driving.
Some other activities that could distract you from driving include:
- Talking to passengers
- Adjusting temperature controls
- Managing your GPS
- Admiring the scenery
When one driver is distracted, it can be a danger to everyone else on the road. Avoiding distractions when you drive can prevent you from causing a collision, but it can also help you react sooner if someone else behaves dangerously on the roadway.