When you drove a car for the first time as part of learning how to drive, your lack of driving skills likely made you a bit nervous. Unlike many experienced drivers, at least the driving had your complete and undivided attention. Unfortunately, drivers tend to pay less attention to their driving as their familiarity and experience with it increases.
Over time, much of the mechanics of driving gets programmed into your muscle memory. This frees up your mind to focus on other things. Instead of focusing on defensive driving, motorists often allow gadgets, food, conversation, or daydreaming to distract their hands, eyes, and mind off safe driving.
The Three Types of Driving Distraction
The three types of driving distraction are manual, visual, and cognitive. If an activity takes one or both of your hands off the steering wheel, it’s a manual distraction. Why is this dangerous? The danger of having both hands off the wheel is obvious. Driving with a single hand diminishes your ability to cope with a sudden traffic emergency. It can cause sloppy maneuvers that may result in a crash.
Visual distraction is an activity that takes your eyes off the road. Driving without your eyes is impossible. Each time you take your eyes off the road to text, search for something, or use an app, you’re driving blind for tens or hundreds of feet.
Cognitive distraction is an activity that takes your mind off your driving. Looking at the road isn’t enough when your mind isn’t engaged. When lost in deep thought or daydreaming, the brain ignores visual information from the eyes, and your awareness of the road diminishes.
Cognitively distracted people experience a phenomenon called inattention blindness. This means you won’t see a pedestrian crossing the road in front of you even though your eyes are looking at the person. The more intense the mental distraction, the greater the danger.
Distracted driving endangers yourself, your passengers, and others sharing the road with you. If it causes an accident, you may face a civil lawsuit. On the other hand, if another’s distracted driving injured you in an accident, you have the right to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, as well as pain and suffering. Contact us for a free consultation.