Distracted driving is a serious problem that puts innocent people in danger of suffering serious injuries or death. These accidents are all preventable. Drivers need to pay attention to what is going on so they can make decisions based on safety.
There are many ways that distractions can keep a driver from being able to focus on driving. Some activities can involve all three forms of distraction.
A cognitive distraction takes a person’s mind off of driving. This can mean a driver is being preoccupied in thought. Even though it might seem like this is safe, especially on familiar roads, there is a chance that an obstacle that isn’t normally there will be present. Or, we’ve all missed that exit because we were engrossed in a favorite song (and sometimes made questionable choices to veer over to the exit ramp at the last second)
A manual distraction takes a driver’s hands off the steering wheel. Reaching over to change the radio station is an example of this. If there is something in the vehicle’s path that requires evasive maneuvers, they may not be possible if the driver can’t control the vehicle.
A visual distraction takes a vehicle operator’s eyes off the road and space around their vehicle. Trying to read a map or review directions on a GPS device are examples of this. If the driver isn’t looking at where the car is going, they can’t react to hazards in the roadway.
In some cases, such as reading text messages on a cellphone, all three types of distractions occur. The visual is because they are looking at the phone, the manual is due to holding the phone, and the cognitive is from needing to think about what the message says and how to reply.
Cellphone usage is one of the deadliest things that drivers can do because it claims their attention for an average of five sections per text message. A vehicle that is moving at 55 miles per hour will go approximately the length of a football field within that five-second period. You can imagine how many crashes might occur during that time.
In some instances, the circumstances of the crash might reveal what was distracting the driver. This can then be used in a claim for compensation.