While most motorists are aware that driving a car requires complete concentration, it is easy for some to become distracted while driving. Whether it is programming a GPS system to find a location or snapping a selfie to post to social media, distractions take the focus off the road, endangering everyones’ lives in the process.
In 2018, more than 400,000 people were injured and an additional 2,841 people were killed in car accidents involving distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It is critical to avoid distractions to minimize the risk of causing an accident, injury or death.
Understanding the types of distractions
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies distractions into three main categories: manual, visual and cognitive. Manual and visual distractions require drivers to remove their hands from the steering wheel and eyes from the road. Yet, cognitive distractions are those that remove a driver’s focus from the road.
Many tasks involve at least two or all three types of distractions, making them even more dangerous. Some distractions include the following:
- Talking with other passengers in the car
- Drinking and eating
- Handling kids in the back seat
- Using voice activated technology
- Using cellular devices
People get caught up in so many tasks while trying to drive that they forget to focus on the task at hand.
Understanding the dangers
Drivers who are engaged in other tasks are often unable to respond to situations and hazards that come up, such as objects in the road, pedestrians, animals, bad weather conditions, sudden traffic lights, bicyclists or other drivers’ behavior.
Texting and driving is one of the most dangerous tasks. Not only do people compose and send texts and emails, they also take pics, update social media statuses and check the news.