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Understanding the types of distracted driving

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Car accidents

Distracted driving leads to many fatal crashes. While many people know that texting and driving increase your risk of a crash, many less-obvious types of distractions remain.

Understanding what counts as a distraction helps you recognize and avoid the risks of taking your attention off the road.

The types of distracted driving

Three main categories encompass the activities considered distracting to drivers. Visual distractions involve taking your eyes off the road for any reason. Manual distractions involve removing your hands from the steering wheel. Finally, cognitive distractions occur when your mind strays from the task of driving.

Even seemingly harmless activities such as adjusting the radio or reaching for something in the back of your car increase your risk of getting into a crash. While young adults and teen drivers have the highest risk of distracted driving, anyone can lose focus or fall into bad habits.

How you can help avoid distractions

Both passengers and drivers can work to avoid distracted driving. As a driver, understanding that even seemingly insignificant distractions increase the risk of an accident helps you remain more focused on the road. Common dangerous behaviors to avoid include:

  • Adjusting seats, mirrors or the radio
  • Eating
  • Rubbernecking or looking away from the road
  • Moving or looking for items in the car
  • Texting, emailing or looking at a phone

As a passenger, politely remind the driver to focus if you notice them driving distracted. Passengers should also avoid actions that might distract the driver.

The importance of avoiding distractions

One of the leading causes of car crashes, distractions create dangerous conditions for drivers and others on the road. You should take distracted driving seriously and remind friends and family about the risks when driving together.