man looking at phone while driving

Dangers of Distracted Driving

With the ever-increasing use of technology in our society, it's no wonder that distracted driving has become a leading cause of accidents on our roads. Despite the dangers, many people continue to text, talk on the phone, or even check their social media accounts while behind the wheel.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts a person's attention away from the task of driving. Taking your eyes off the road, even for a split second, can lead to disaster. In 2020 alone, 3,142 people were killed, and 324,652 were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are three main types of distractions while driving:

  • Manual Distractions
  • Cognitive Distractions
  • Visual Distractions

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions are any type of physical activity that takes your hands off the steering wheel and your eyes off the road. Some common examples include looking for something in the glove compartment, adjusting the radio, eating or drinking, and talking on the phone.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions take a driver's attention away from the task of driving. They can be caused by several different factors, including daydreaming, fatigue, stress, and even boredom.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions are any objects or activities that cause a driver to take their eyes off the road. Common examples include reading, looking at passengers, changing the radio station, or checking a phone. Even something as innocuous as a billboard can be a form of visual distraction. While all distractions can be dangerous, visual distractions are particularly risky because they prevent drivers from physically looking at the road ahead.

Preventing Driving Distractions

So what can you do to limit distractions while you are driving? First, make sure you are well rested before getting behind the wheel. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as distracted driving, so it is important to be alert and aware when you are on the road. Second, put away your phone and other electronic devices before starting to drive. Although hands-free devices are legal in most states, research shows that they can still be distracting. Pull over to a safe location if you need to use your phone for directions or music. Finally, try to limit other distractions in the car, such as eating in the car, loud music or disruptive passengers. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help make the roads a safer place for everyone.

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