Distracted driving is any activity that takes your eyes off the road, and it is very, very dangerous. According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2016, distracted driving killed more than 3,450 people on U.S. roads, including 562 non-occupant victims (such as pedestrians and bicyclists). Those tragic deaths are also just the tip of the iceberg. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that from 2010 to 2015, distracted driving resulted in around 400,000 injuries per year, on average. In other words, distracted driving is a huge problem.
There are three major types of distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive. Let’s take a closer look at each type and learn how to avoid them:
Manual. Manual distractions involve removing one or both hands from the steering wheel. Examples include:
- Eating and drinking
- Searching through a purse or wallet
Visual. Visual distractions occur when your eyes wander from the road. Examples include:
- Doing your makeup or hair
- Adjusting a GPS or radio
- Searching for something on the seat or floor
Cognitive. Cognitive distractions take your mind away from your driving. Examples include:
- Road rage
- Thinking about something upsetting
Texting While Driving Falls Under All Three Types
Texting while driving is especially dangerous because it applies to all three types of distracted driving: manual, visual, and cognitive.
- Texting requires manually using one hand to enter your message.
- Texting requires a visual focus on your phone’s keypad and away from the road.
- Texting requires concentrating on your text conversation rather than your driving.
How to Kick Dangerous Distracted Driving Habits
- Put your phone away until you reach your destination. Explore apps such as the LifeSaver app that blocks phone use while driving.
- Rely on passengers to adjust the radio, air conditioning, and GPS.
- Preset your GPS and radio before leaving on a solo trip.
- Stay calm and relax as much as possible. If you start feeling stressed in traffic, consider a break from the road.
- Factor in mealtimes for your road trip. Not only does stopping for a meal instead of eating on the go help you avoid manual distraction, it also gives you healthier eating choices and keeps your car clean.
In today’s busy world, distracted driving is a real threat. Smartphones, in particular, pose a threat as more and more people treat them as extensions of their bodies with which they can multitask behind the wheel. You can do your part in ridding the roads of distracted drivers by practicing self-discipline with your smartphone, preplanning for pit stops, taking deep breaths, and slowing down. Replacing bad driving habits with good ones helps everyone on the road “arrive alive.”
The Florida Law Group
Since 1984, the experienced attorneys at The Florida Law Group have dedicated their careers to protecting the rights of the wrongfully injured and their families. If you or a loved one has been injured or has died as a result of someone else’s distracted driving, our attorneys stand ready to fight for the compensation you deserve. Neither you nor anyone you love should suffer from someone else’s carelessness. For a free case evaluation, call (813) 463-8880 or contact us online today.