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What Are the Types of Distracted Driving?

An estimated 3,000 people are killed every year in the United States as a direct result of distracted driving, based on statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Distracted driving essentially involves performing various non-driving-related activities while driving.

Driving while distracted can drastically increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. A few common types of distracted driving are as follows:

  • Visual distraction: This involves taking your eyes off the road.
  • Manual distraction: This involves taking your hands off the wheel.
  • Cognitive distraction. This involves having a mind that wanders and takes your mind off driving.

A distraction can take many forms. From sending a text, talking on the phone, and using your GPS, talking to others in the car, eating, or applying makeup, distracted driving is dangerous to you, your passengers, and others on the road.

3 Distracted Driving Causes That Could Have Been Prevented

The following are a few distracted driving cases that can and should be avoided. Anyone can take these simple steps to keep themselves and others safe.

  1. Looking at your phone to check a message, reading your GPS, or looking up an address as you drive. These are all avoidable visual distractions.
  2. Taking food out of a bag or a container and plugging in your phone to charge. These are avoidable manual distractions.
  3. Talking to another passenger, tending to kids arguing in the back, or smoking while driving. These are all avoidable cognitive distractions.

Texting while driving, in particular, is very dangerous since it results in all three types of driving distractions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every single day in the United States, nine people are killed and over 1,000 injuries occur in accidents related to distracted driving.

To read or send a text message, the average person takes their eyes off the road for about five seconds. At a speed of about 55 mph, that is enough time to cover the length of an entire football field.

Safety Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Do you want to learn how you can avoid causing a distracted driving accident? Follow these tips if you’re concerned that your driving habits aren’t the best they could be.

Plan Ahead

Take care of important calls or messages before you start your trip. Also think about any information you may need before starting to drive, such as the address, important questions you may need to ask someone along the way, or other pieces of information you may need before starting the engine.

Designate a Texter

Designated texters are as important for avoiding distracted driving as designated drivers are for avoiding drunk driving. Choose a friend who can act as your designated message handler while you drive so that you do not have to pick up your phone yourself while you are behind the wheel.

Use Your Phone’s Features

Put your phone away so that you cannot reach it, and turn off your notifications so you won’t be tempted to look at it. You may also want to take advantage of apps that are designed to help you build the willpower you’ll need to avoid distracted driving.

There are apps that will allow you to block messages or send automatic responses while you are driving so that whoever is messaging you knows you are busy driving. If a text, message, meal, or other distraction simply cannot wait, pull over when it is safe to do so, and then tend to your phone.

Distracted Driving and the Law

If you have questions like, “Is it illegal to text and drive?” “Is it illegal to wear headphones while driving?” or “Is it legal to text while I use my phone?” you are not alone. Many drivers break the law every day without realizing it, inadvertently putting themselves and countless others at risk.

If you have questions about your driving behavior, it’s worth taking the time to look into the laws in your city and state. You may also want to consult an attorney if you’ve been in an accident. You may spare yourself from a citation, increased insurance premiums, or even jail time. Most of all though, you may save someone’s life.

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