Drivers can be distracted in more ways than one

In recent years there has been a lot of talk about distracted driving. You may have seen it mentioned in articles or road safety campaigns. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted drivers injured 400,000 people in car crashes during 2018 and killed 2,800.

Distractions come in more than one shape

There are three main types of distractions drivers can experience:

  • Visual distraction: A driver stops looking at the road. For example, to glance down so they can locate their morning coffee.
  • Manual distraction: The driver takes their hand off the wheel, perhaps to hold their coffee cup as they sip and drive.
  • Cognitive distraction: The driver stops thinking about the road, as the aroma of their coffee reminds them of home or other things.

As the example of the coffee mug shows, one thing can cause a driver to be distracted in multiple ways. Another example is using a mobile phone, which actually combines all three forms of distraction. For example, when a driver receives a text:

  • Picking up a phone or pressing the buttons to open a message causes manual distraction.
  • Reading the text results in a visual distraction.
  • Thinking about what to reply is a cognitive distraction.

Thus a straightforward text message can lead to someone in charge of a vehicle not looking at the road, not thinking about the road and not holding the steering wheel properly, all at the same time. If someone should step off the pavement up ahead, the driver might not see them. If they do, they will be slower to register the fact and less capable of turning the wheel to avoid hitting them.

Driving a vehicle requires a driver’s full attention. Failing to do so puts other people’s lives at risk. If you are injured in a vehicle collision, it may be due to other driver being distracted. At that point, it is wise to seek the assistance of an experienced attorney.

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