4 Types of Driving Distractions

Today, there are so many things that can distract us while we are driving. Today’s new vehicles have built-in touch screens, fancy audio systems, television screens in the back, and more. Motorists have a responsibility to use these features safely, which means keeping your focus on the task of driving when you’re behind the wheel. But electronics are not the only source of distraction. Consider these different types of inattention:

  • Manual: Until fully autonomous vehicles become the norm, we’re still responsible for handling the vehicle! Driving requires you to keep your hands on the wheel and steer. Manual distraction includes sending or reading a text message, using a touch screen, reaching toward other seats or the floors, eating or drinking, swiping a screen, applying cosmetics, etc.
  • Visual: Driving obviously requires you to keep your eyes on the road. Lots of things can be visually distracting, including reading or sending text messages, looking at a map or directions, looking in the rearview, looking in the backseat at roughhousing kids, rubbernecking, or daydreaming.
  • Auditory: Auditory distractions overlap with cognitive inattention. Hearing a troublesome engine noise, listening to a captivating podcast or radio show, trying to resolve an argument amongst your children – these auditory distractions make it difficult to concentrate on the task of driving. 
  • Mental/cognitive: Taking your mind off the task of driving is very dangerous. Cognitive distractions include daydreaming, replaying a conversation in your head, revisiting something that occurred at work, reading or sending a text message, having a conversation, and reading a map or directions.

As you can see, there is quite a bit of overlap between the 4 types of distractions. Driving remains a skilled activity requiring our concentration. Staying focused on the road will go a long way in preventing distracted driving crashes.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by a distracted or otherwise careless motorist, please contact our attorneys for a case review. We will assess what took place and describe your options for pursuing injury compensation. Reach us in New York at 518-792-1174, or in Florida, at 305-751-8556. McPhillips, Fitzgerald & Cullum are passionate advocates for accident victims.


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