Distracted driving is a pressing issue today. Whenever you’re stopped at a red light, you might look up into the rear-view mirror to see the person behind you checking their phone. Yet cellphone use is only one kind of distracted driving. Before we can understand distracted driving, we must first identify the causes.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
There are three elements of distracted driving. Each comes with a different level of risk. These distractions are especially dangerous when paired together. Each distraction chips away at the driver's focus until they’re almost driving on instinct. The three elements of a distraction are,
Manual Distractions: These distractions cause the driver to take their hands off the wheel. This may be anything from adjusting the radio or environmental controls to reaching for loose items in the back seat.
Visual Distractions: These include anything that causes the driver to look away from the road. Whether it’s roadside construction or eye contact with a passenger, it leaves the driver momentarily unaware of their surroundings.
Cognitive Distractions: This kind of distraction is often overlooked. A wandering mind is also a form of distracted driving. Whether you’re thinking about what you’re having for dinner or talking to a passenger, thinking about anything other than the road is a kind of distracted driving.
The Most Dangerous Distraction
One study found that cognitive distractions make up 80% of fatal distracted driving accidents. Of those, more than half were the result of daydreaming and drivers who were lost in thought. You may have experienced this yourself during a long drive. You become lost in thought while driving and suddenly realize that you’re almost to your destination.
It’s no surprise why cellphones are the main target of distracted driving awareness. Picking up your cellphone requires that you take your hands off the wheel, a manual distraction. Then you look at the screen and find the app, a visual distraction. Finally, you use brainpower to decide what you’re going to type, a cognitive distraction.
These three elements combine to create an enormous risk for distracted drivers and everyone else on the road. Moreover, studies suggest hands-free texting is no safer than normal texting as you’re still using the same amount of mental focus.
If you or someone you love suffered serious injuries because of a distracted driver, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Southern California auto injury attorney from Schurmer & Wood to evaluate your claim, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (805) 470-1628.