Distracted driving can happen in a lot of different ways. A driver could be distracted by an unrestrained pet, for example, or by their phone.
But there are three general areas that experts recognize as examples of distracted driving. It’s important to understand each one and how all three can happen at the same time.
Taking your eyes off of the road
First of all, you have visual distractions. Maybe you need to look at the GPS to see which turn to take, or maybe you’re a parent with a child talking to you from the back seat. Any time that you look away from the road, you’re visually distracted from the task of driving.
Taking your hands off of the wheel
Next, there are physical distractions. These are sometimes known as manual distractions. If you reach down to adjust the seat while you’re driving, for example, that’s a manual distraction. But the same is true if you pick up your phone and begin to type out a text message.
Taking your mind off of the task
Finally, you have cognitive or mental distractions that take your mind off of the task of driving your vehicle safely. These can happen even when you are still holding onto the wheel and looking at the road, so you’re not experiencing a visual or physical distraction. But if you’re thinking about something else so intently that you’re not thinking about driving – an argument with a spouse, for instance – that can still cause a car accident.
In some cases, such as with texting and driving, all three distractions are present at once. Those who have been injured by distracted drivers need to know how to seek compensation.