For quite some time, drunk driving has been seen as far and above the single most dangerous way of driving. As of now, it still is, however, there is a newcomer on the rise. With continual technological advancements in society, distracted driving is higher than ever, and rising. According to studies done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ( NHTSA), distracted driving was responsible for 3,100 fatalities in 2017 alone.
When you think of distracted driving, you may first think of cellphone usage. While this is absolutely the most common form of distracted driving, there are many other things that classify as a distraction to those behind the wheel.
The Three Types of Distracted Driving
The NHTSA has broken distracted driving down into three different categories. Simply put, if you aren’t giving your full attention to the road and the other drivers around you, you are driving distracted. The three different types of distracted driving are:
- Manual Distraction – A manual distraction is one that causes the driver to take their hands or legs away from their respective areas. For example, if you take your hand away to change the radio, that is considered a manual distraction.
- Visual Distraction – A visual distraction is anything that takes the driver’s eyes off the road. Some examples include:
- Looking at your cellphone
- Looking at passengers
- Updating your GPS
- Looking down at your burger
- Cognitive Distraction – A cognitive distraction is when the distraction causes the driver’s mind to wander, and focus on things other than the road ahead. Some examples include:
- Hearing bad news
- Listening to an intense podcast
As you can see, there are many forms of distracted driving. One thing to note is that cellphone usage is by far the most common culprit of distracted driving, as it exercises all three types of distracted driving.
How to Avoid Distracted Driving
While the simple solution to avoid distracted driving would be to keep your attention and focus on the road ahead, that is often easier said than done. Some helpful tips you can start implementing into your driving routine to help prevent distracted driving include:
- Keep your cellphone out of sight and out of mind while behind the wheel.
- If you’re traveling with children, animals, or other passengers, be sure they are all properly situated before departing. If you nything having to do with others in your car, make sure you pull over first.
- Make sure your GPS is set properly before beginning your drive. If you need to adjust the destination, pull over first.
- Do not eat while you drive. It’s messy and dangerous.
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