Distracted driving leads to thousands of collisions every year. In fact, around eight people are killed each day as a result of collisions involving distracted drivers.
When you think of distracted driving, you may imagine someone who is texting or calling a friend. The reality is that distractions take many forms. Any distraction has the potential to lead to a car crash, which is why it’s important to avoid them at all costs.
Three types of distractions influence drivers
There are three categories of distractions of which you should be aware. The first is cognitive, which is when you are thinking about something or your mind is wandering. You’re not thinking about the road.
The second is manual, which is when you physically take your hands off the wheel and aren’t technically in control of the vehicle. Even taking one hand off the wheel could be potentially dangerous.
Finally, there is the visual distraction, which takes your eyes off the road in front of you and causes you to look elsewhere, such as turning around in your seat to address a problem in your vehicle or rubbernecking while passing a collision.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has data showing that over 2,800 people were killed in distracted-driving crashes in 2018. Hundreds of thousands more were injured. In around 1 out of 5 of those cases, the people who died weren’t in vehicles. They were instead walking, riding a bike or doing something else.
Distracted driving is dangerous, so what can you do to avoid it?
Since distracted driving is a known risk, the best thing you can do is to assess what you’re doing in your vehicle and make sure you refocus on the road. Don’t:
- Text behind the wheel
- Take calls while driving
- Eat behind the wheel
- Drink and drive
- Rubberneck when passing collisions
If there is something you need to do that would take your hands off the wheel, eyes off the road or thoughts off driving, you need to pull over as soon as you can. That way, you’ll be off the road and can focus on what you need to do before you start driving again.