What is Distracted Driving?

What is Distracted Driving?

Plainly stated, distracted driving is doing anything that takes your focus and attention away from driving while behind the wheel. There are four main types of distracted driving, some you’ll be more familiar with than others. Did you know that 8 people die in a crash caused by a distracted driver every day in the United States?

Four Types of Distracted Driving

Most people think of distracted driving as using their cell phone while driving, whether that be texting or talking. However, there are many different types of distracted driving; some you may not have considered as potentially distracting before. We’ll dive into the four different categories and examples of distracted driving below:

Visual

Taking your eyes off the road for any reason would be considered a visual distraction. This may involve looking back to speak to your children in the backseat or keeping your eyes on your navigation device for too long. In some cases, people are watching videos or movies while behind the wheel, causing a distracted driving accident.

Visual distractions are most typically associated with distracted driving. This includes texting and driving, checking their GPS, or even looking at billboards alongside the road. Visual distractions can be harmful as the driver’s ability to focus on the road, and objects around them may become seriously impaired.

Auditory

Listening to music too loud in your car can be a distraction if it’s prohibiting you from hearing emergency vehicles in your area. You can also be distracted as a driver by conversations or potentially arguments with your passengers. Children crying or making lots of noise in the backseat often cause distracted driving. In addition to internal vehicle auditory distractions, a driver may also encounter external auditory distractions. These could include construction noises, wind, emergency vehicle sirens, and more.

Auditory distractions can be dangerous, as the driver is less in control of many of these distractions than the others. Distracted driving can happen for a variety of reasons, many outside of simply cell phone use.

Manual

Taking your hands off the steering wheel for any task is considered a manual distraction. This can vary from adjusting your temperature controls, changing the radio station, helping a child or pet by reaching in the backseat or touching your GPS device. Some individuals get ready in their car in the mornings, doing their makeup, or eating breakfast while driving. Smoking while driving is also considered a manual distraction.

These types of distractions can be the most dangerous. When a driver removes their hands from the steering wheel, their driving can be seriously impaired if there’s a sudden emergency. They may not react in ample time to correct their steering and may veer off the road or into other vehicles or pedestrians.

Cognitive

Cognitive distractions would be anything that takes your attention away from driving. This could be daydreaming or being lost in thought. A cognitive distraction could also include talking on a hands-free device while driving.

These distractions may be the most deceiving, as it appears as if the driver is fully attentive while driving. However, suppose their mind has drifted and is no longer actively paying attention to their surroundings. In that case, these distractions can pose just as much danger as the other types of tangible distractions.

Distracted Driving Statistics

In 2018, the CDC and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported: “over 2,800 people were killed and an estimated 400,000 were injured in crashes involving a distracted driver.”

The CDC also states that young adult and teen drivers are the most at risk for distracted driving. In 2019, 39% of high schoolers who drove in the past 30 days claimed they had been distracted by texting or emailing at least once.

If you or someone you know was recently injured due to a distracted driving accident, and you believe it may have been because of another’s negligence, contact Loscalzo & Loscalzo, P.C. at (646) 846-4776 to discuss your case with one of our personal injury attorneys today.

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