Even with distracted driving laws in place, there are millions of people who assume it's okay to take their attention away from the road.
Just because a person engages in distracted driving, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll be part of an accident. However, this behavior absolutely increases your risk.
It's critical to understand that no two forms of distracted driving are equal. Here are the three most common types:
- Visual distraction. This occurs when you take your eyes off the road and surrounding vehicles for any reason. A common example is turning around when driving to see what your child is doing in the backseat.
- Cognitive distraction. Even if your eyes are focused on the road, it doesn't necessarily mean you are paying attention. Cognitive distraction, also known as mental distraction, can come into play when you least expect it. Maybe you're thinking about what you'll say to your boss when you arrive at work. Or maybe you're daydreaming about the dinner you have planned for when you arrive home.
- Manual distraction. When you take one or both hands off the steering wheel you're increasing the likelihood of an accident. Manual distraction comes in many forms, ranging from texting to eating to adjusting the radio.
How to prevent distracted driving
The more time you spend on the road the more likely it is that you will fall prey to a distraction. Even so, it only takes one moment of weakness to make a mistake.
Some of the best things you can do to prevent distracted driving include:
- Make it a habit to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times
- Never look away from the road and the traffic around you
- Turn off your cellphone until you reach your destination
Doing these things will help you prevent distracted driving, thus improving your safety.
As you follow these tips, don't assume that other drivers are doing the same. There will always be people who are not paying attention to the road.
If a distracted driver strikes your vehicle, move to the side of the road and call 911. The responding officer can create a report, while an ambulance can transport you to a local hospital for treatment.
Once you're feeling better, learn more about the cause of the accident and any steps you can take to hold the negligent driver responsible for their actions.