Distracted Driving Can Have Severe Consequences
Today’s vehicles are equipped with a number of features that are designed to keep drivers and passengers safe. Unfortunately, no matter how safe the vehicle construction, crashes occur on a regular basis resulting in injury and in some more severe cases, death. Despite safety measures within a vehicle, one of the most dangerous threats to a driver and their safety is the driver, and what they choose to do while behind the wheel of a vehicle. Distracted driving has become the most common cited cause of crashes today.
Three Types Of Distracted Driving Distractions
A driver can experience three types of distractions while behind the wheel: cognitive distraction, manual distraction and visual distraction. A cognitive distraction is most commonly experienced by drivers who take their mind and attention off of the road while driving. A manual distraction occurs when drivers take their hands off the wheel. A visual distraction occurs when drivers take their eyes off the road while driving. Drivers may not be aware of some of the most common distractions that occur while behind the wheel, while others may choose to take part in driving distractions that can result in harm to them and other drivers.
Most Common Distracted Driving Habits
1. Using a cellphone while driving. Considered to be one of the most common driver distractions today, most drivers don’t see a problem when it comes to talking on the phone while driving. Unfortunately, this distraction covers all three types of driver distraction. Answering a phone is a cognitive distraction. A driver’s focus will change from concentrating on the road to becoming involved in the conversation. By answering the phone and taking your hand off the wheel, a manual distraction will occur. If a driver needs to look at the number before they answer it or adjust the volume on the phone, a visual distraction will be created.
By extension, text-messaging also encompasses all three forms of driver distractions. As a driver you will look at the phone to read the message, think about the response to the message and take your hands off the wheel to actually respond to the message. By engaging in these actions, drivers become a danger to themselves and surrounding drivers.
2. Driving With Children. It is difficult for drivers not to respond to a crying child or arguing siblings while driving. Unfortunately, taking one’s eyes off the road can be detrimental to a driver and surrounding vehicles. Attending to children in the back seat of a vehicle represents all three types of driver distractions. Drivers should never attend to any children while driving. Parents should pull over in a safe spot to attend to their passengers needs.
3. Eating While Driving. Simply put, eating while driving is dangerous. It is a manual, visual and cognitive distraction. It requires drivers to use their hands to unwrap, hold and move the food several times to their mouth. If the food moves in the wrapper, or requires adjustment, drivers are forced to look at it, creating a visual distraction. If the food happens to spill, drivers will focus on the damage, try to clean it up resulting in a cognitive distraction. Eating behind the wheel is a bad idea.
Although the distractions listed seem so simple to avoid, drivers continue to engage in these activities, resulting in crashes. Avoiding driver distractions is simple according to Young Drivers. Drivers need to be aware of their actions while behind the wheel and understand that eating that sandwich while driving can have detrimental consequences.