Driving while distracted is one of the most dangerous things a driver can do. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was responsible for 2,841 deaths in 2018 alone. This number may be low, considering that distracted driving accidents are often under-reported. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and it is the perfect time to remind ourselves of the serious dangers distracted driving presents.
Three Types of Distracted Driving
Anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving is a cause of distracted driving. For some, it’s their cellphone. For others, it’s talking to passengers or applying makeup. There is a range of distractions that can be dangerous, but they all fall into one or more of three categories:
- Visual Distraction—is anything that causes you to take your eyes off the road. For example, if a driver turns around to check on a child in the backseat, that driver has been visually distracted. Visual distractions are particularly dangerous because you are not aware of what is going on on the road and can’t properly respond to situations. Taking your eyes off the road for even 5 seconds while driving 55 mph is the equivalent of driving with your eyes closed for the length of a football field.
- Manual Distraction—is anything that takes your hands off the wheel. Common examples of manual distractions include eating and drinking, applying makeup, texting, or programming a navigation system. Manual distractions are dangerous because, without both hands on the wheel, a driver does not have complete control of their vehicle.
- Cognitive Distraction—is anything that takes a driver’s mind off the task of driving. Examples of cognitive distractions include talking to passengers or listening to an engaging podcast. Sometimes being preoccupied with thoughts about work or family can also be a cognitive distraction. Cognitive distractions are dangerous because when a driver is not concentrated on driving, they may not respond to dangerous situations appropriately.
Texting While Driving
Texting while driving is the most dangerous distraction because it involves all three types of distracted driving. A driver is visually distracted because they are looking at their phone. They are manually distracted because their hand is texting, and they are cognitively distracted because they are focused on their texts. Surveys show that 17% of 25-34-year-old drivers admit to texting and driving. This means that one in six drivers on the road is looking at their phone and not focused on the task of driving. This makes the roads extremely dangerous for other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
Contact an Experienced Accident Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you should consult with an experienced car accident attorney to explore your options. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping car accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.