Next to drunk driving, distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents and injuries on the road. With the the introduction of smartphones, drivers are now facing more temptations on the road than ever before. However, distracted driving doesn’t just include cell phone use while driving; it can include several other forms of distraction, as well.
The more you understand about distracted driving, the safer you’ll be as a driver. Read on to learn what you can do to prevent driving while distracted.
Understanding Distracted Driving: Types of Distractions
The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) classifies distractions into three main categories. Knowing these categories can help you understand exactly what types of dangers a distraction can create. These three categories of distractions are:
- Visual: Anything that causes you to take your eyes off of the road
- Manual: Distractions which cause you to take your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: Distractions which cause you to take your mind off of driving
Next, let’s look at specific types of distractions and see how they affect your driving.
Texting while Driving
This is probably the most dangerous distraction while driving because texting involves all three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. Many experts consider texting while driving to be just as bad or even worse than driving while under the influence. State laws generally prohibit texting while driving, and violations of distracted driving laws can lead to legal penalties. You should avoid texting while driving at all costs.
Talking on the Phone
Even with the use of a headset or built-in hands free speaker mechanisms, talking while driving can present serious cognitive and even manual distractions. NHTSA research explains that talking on the phone through a hands-free device can still cause the driver to miss important visual and audio cues that would normally help a person prevent a crash.
Using GPS or Digital Maps
Many states allow the use of digital GPS systems, and even the use of a map in a smartphone while driving. However, using a GPS can still create distractions. Some tips to make GPS use more safe include:
- Program the route before you start driving
- Use the audio dictation feature so you’re not scanning the map too much as you drive
- Try to get a visual snapshot of the route in your head
- Review the overall list of turns, merges, etc. so you have an idea of where you’re going
Searching for Songs to Listen To
Searching for songs on a phone or even on a radio is one of the main forms of manual distraction. It causes you to take your hand off the wheel, and is also a visual distraction as well. this can be particularly bad if you’re holding something in one hand such as a coffee cup.
Other major sources of distraction include:
- Unsecured Pets
- Loud passengers, especially children
- Putting on makeup, combing hair and other forms of grooming
- Eating and drinking
- Driving while tired or upset (can be a cognitive distraction)
Conclusion: Limit What Keeps You From Focusing On the Road
The goal is to minimize the amount of things that cause you to take your eyes, your hands, and your focus off of driving. Limit the amount of things you’re doing while driving by taking care of them before you start driving; you can always exit the highway and pull over if something urgent needs to be addressed. Doing these can save yourself from injury, tickets, and physical damage to your car.
Safety is a main concern when driving on the road. At Convoy Auto Repair, we understand how important safety is for you and your loved ones. We provide various services to keep your car running in top shape to avoid dangerous or unsafe driving situations. Stop by today for a complete car check up to maximize your car’s safety.