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Distracted Driving: Common Non-Cell Phone Distractions to Know
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of vehicle accidents and responsible for at least 25% of vehicle-related deaths. The term "distracted driving" has become synonymous with using a cellphone while driving. However, there are actually many other types of activities people do while driving that qualify as distracted driving.
There are three types of distracted driving, and each can include a variety of activities: visual distraction (taking your eyes off the road), cognitive distraction (taking your mind off driving), and manual distraction (taking your hands off the wheel). Phone-related activities are especially dangerous because they often combine all three types of distractions. Here are some other activities that fall under these various distracted driving categories.
Cellphones offer a plethora of visual distractions like reading texts and watching videos. But there are other sources of visual distraction as well. One common visual distraction that many drivers suffer from is often called "rubbernecking." This happens most frequently when a driver approaches an accident and take their eyes off the road to get a closer look. However, drivers may take their eyes off the road for a number of reasons, such as looking at wildlife on the side of the road. Other visual distractions may include checking your hair and makeup in the mirror or searching for something in your bag or vehicle.
Navigation devices (whether on your phone or otherwise) can also be a visual distraction. While they're intended to help get you safely to where you're going, it's important that you not focus too closely on the device's screen. Keep your eyes on the road and listen to the instructions; if you need to perform a visual check of the directions, don't look for more than a second. If you need to look for longer, find a safe place to pull over.
A cognitive distraction may not take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel, but it can still be dangerous. Cognitive distractions may include taking phone calls on a hands-free device or even listening to the radio or an audiobook. While music and audiobooks aren't necessarily distractions in and of themselves, they can become so if you are focused too intently on what you're listening to and taking your mind off driving.
Parents frequently face cognitive distractions as they try to deal with young children in the backseat. Even if they're keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, parents of young children may be distracted by crying children in car seats. Even simply letting your mind wander and becoming distracted by other thoughts can become a cognitive distraction. So, be sure that you not only keep your eyes on the road-keep your mind on it, too.
Manual distractions are sadly quite common among drivers. They can include eating or drinking while driving, applying makeup or fixing your hair, digging into a purse or other bag, and passing items to other people in the car-especially to young children.
Of course, manual distractions are also plentiful on cellphones like texting, checking social media notifications, and even simply picking up your cellphone. Regardless of what other distractions may be around you, try to keep both hands on the wheel at all times.
If you've been in an accident involving a distracted driver, contact George Stein Steelhorse Law.