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The 3 kinds of distracted drivers

How do you define distracted driving? Ask most people to picture a distracted driver, and they will probably envision someone who is more interested in their cellphone than they are the road.

While it's true that cellphones are a common part of distracted driving incidents, it may surprise you to learn that all distractions fall into three basic categories:

  • Manual: Anything that causes you to take your hands off the steering wheel when you're driving
  • Visual: Anything that causes you to look away from the road while in motion
  • Cognitive: Anything that causes your focus to wander from the task at hand

The reason that cellphone use behind the wheel is so bad is that they actually can roll all three types of distractions together: Most people use their hands to operate their phones and will look at their screens for at least a moment -- and their attention is naturally diverted toward their phones whenever they use them.

But cellphone use isn't the only cause of distracted driving. You can lose your focus on the road simply because you're running through a list of errands in your head or listening to the news on the radio. Drinking coffee while you're driving may be a virtually mindless activity, but it still requires you to take one of your hands off the steering wheel. Glancing into the back seat to see what's rolling around back there or to check on the kids is another common distraction.

Do your part to prevent distracted driving by being more conscious of the distractions you face. If you end up in an accident with a distracted driver, make sure that you find out more about your right to hold them accountable for your injuries and losses.

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