Many Californians aim to be safe and responsible while driving to prevent car accidents. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, it’s possible to become distracted. There are three different types of driver distraction that are important to know.
Three types of distracted driving
Depending on the specific activity a driver engages in while behind the wheel, they can be guilty of one, two or even all three types of distracted driving. However, even one type can cause motor vehicle accidents.
Visual distractions are any activity that causes a driver’s eyes to shift from the road and onto something else such as an object or vehicle controls. Examples include checking a GPS system or glancing over your shoulder to check on children in the backseat.
Manual distractions cause a driver to move their hands off the steering wheel, which reduces their ability to control the vehicle. This can include anything such as eating, checking your phone, fiddling with your vehicle’s computer system or even adjusting your rearview mirror or seat.
The third type of driver distraction is cognitive, causing motorists to focus on something other than the road. Examples of cognitive distractions are driving under the influence, being tired, conversations with passengers or daydreaming.
Texting is considered one of the most dangerous behaviors while driving because it causes all three distraction types: you have to take your hands off the wheel, redirect your eyes and concentrate on your phone in order to compose, send or read a text message.
Avoiding distracted driving
You can do your part to avoid distracted driving by remaining alert at all times. Keep your focus on the road and your hands on the steering wheel. Program music to play and your route ahead of time so that you don’t have to do it while you’re already on the road.
Avoid drinking alcohol or consuming drugs so that you don’t become impaired behind the wheel. If you’re overly tired, avoid driving if possible. Only use your phone for emergency calls; if you have to make or take a call, pull over before doing so.