According to the CDC, there are three main categories of distractions that can lead to accidents: visual, manual, and cognitive distractions. Things such as texting and driving or adjusting the radio could fall into all three of these categories.
Knowing what each of these distracted driving categories are can help you recognize and prevent them when you are the one behind the wheel.
Visual distractions include those things that require you to take your eyes off of the road, such as:
- Applying makeup in the mirror
- Scrolling through social media
- Changing the radio station
- Looking at your GPS
- Turning to talk to someone else in the car
The easiest way to keep yourself from causing an accident because of these distractions is to not let yourself fall prey to them. To do this, you should:
- Set your radio before you start driving
- Wait until you get where you are going to check social media
- Apply your makeup before leaving home
- Get directions set up on your GPS before you start driving and set it to tell you instructions so you don't have to look at a map.
If you plan and do things before or after you drive, you won't have to deal with visual distractions very often.
Manual distractions are caused by you physically moving around while driving, including:
- Texting, talking on the phone
- Reaching for items on the ground
- Searching in a bag
- Eating and drinking
Many states now have laws against actions such as texting or talking on the phone while driving, because these are manual distractions that cause a large number of accidents every year. States may also have rules against eating and drinking while driving, even though these actions don't seem as likely to cause an incident as texting does.
Preventing manual distractions is relatively easy. You should:
- Avoid texting or talking on the phone while behind the wheel
- If you have to, use a hands-free device to do so
- Save eating and drinking until you are out of your car.
- Store items you might need while driving near at hand and easy to access
Cognitive distractions may be the hardest to determine as they center around your mental, emotional, and physical state while you are driving. These include:
- Driving while upset
- Getting lost in thought
- Driving while impaired
- Paying attention to someone else in the car
If you are driving without your mind fully on the task, you can easily cause an accident. You need to be thinking clearly when you drive, and if you are distracted by negative feelings and situations, or by other people, you are not thinking clearly about what you are doing.
You can prevent cognitive distractions by only driving when you are relatively calm, sober, and in a good state of mind, and asking passengers to not distract you too much with conversation during your trip.
If you or a loved one was injured due to a distracted driver, turn to Briggle & Polan. Our Austin personal injury attorneys will look at your case to determine negligent parties and help you pursue your financial recovery.
Contact our firm at (512) 400-3278 to schedule your free consultation.