What is Distracted Driving and How Dangerous Is It?
Several problems occur on the road, many of which result from negligent actions. Unfortunately, these are completely preventable actions that can lead to you suffering significant harm because of another driver. One of the biggest problems on the road—yet it still occurs often—is distracted driving.
If you are ever in this unfortunate situation, it’s vital to recognize what constitutes distracted driving as there are three main types: visual, manual, and cognitive. We’ll explain what each of these are below and help you recognize some of the potential signs of which you need to be aware.
If you suffer an injury due to a distracted driver, we’re here to help. Call (601) 228-6722.
Identifying Visual Distractions
A visual distraction is exactly what it sounds like: it’s any distraction that causes the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. Even when the driver has his or her hands on the wheel, a visual distraction that lasts just a few seconds can have disastrous results.
The main visual distractions while driving can include:
- Looking at a cellphone or GPS system
- Looking at the radio
- Looking at a passenger
- Looking for an item in the back seat
- Looking into the mirror for a purpose other than driving safely
Visual distractions can cause numerous problems because accidents can happen in just a few seconds. For instance, a visual distraction can make it difficult for a driver to recognize upcoming traffic stopped ahead of them. A visual distraction can also lead to the driver braking erratically as they bring their visual focus back to the road. You may recognize a visually distracted driver because they often swerve between lanes and constantly speed up and slow down.
Identifying Manual Distractions
Manual distractions are those that require the driver to take at least one of his or her hands off the steering wheel. Safe driving tips recommend that drivers use both hands. However, many people either use one because they feel it’s more comfortable or because they’re doing something else with their other hand. This makes it difficult to control the vehicle at times.
Most common manual distractions include the following:
- Eating and drinking
- Texting on a cellphone
- Holding a cellphone to talk
- Reaching for items throughout the vehicle
- Changing the radio station
- Putting on makeup
Unfortunately, this is a situation that is far too common. While many drivers feel as though they can operate with one hand on the steering wheel, any small problem can make it almost impossible to regain control should the driver lose it.
Identifying Cognitive Distractions
Cognitive distractions are some of the most dangerous because many people don’t even know about them. These are distractions that cause the driver to lose focus on the task at hand, which is driving. Many people are cognitively distracted without even being aware of it.
Cognitive distractions include:
- Talking to passengers
- Singing along to loud music
- Using a voice-activated system
Cognitive distractions can result in delayed reactions, leading to late braking and swerving.
One of the worst distractions of all is texting and driving because it combines all three types of distractions. The driver would have to look down at the phone to read the text or what they’re texting (visual), use their hand to swipe or text (manual), and focus on the response (cognitive). The average text takes roughly five seconds to send. At 55 miles per hour, that’s enough time to travel the length of a football field.
If you suffer harm because of a distracted driver, know that you have rights, and our Jackson car accident attorneys are here to protect you. At Williams Newman Williams, we have the experience and knowledge necessary to guide you through the process and safeguard your best interests, pursuing the most favorable outcome possible on your behalf.
Call our firm at (601) 228-6722 today and speak with a member of our team in a free consultation.