Texting while driving is extremely dangerous, but it is certainly not the only activity that comes under the heading of distracted driving. Any time you are out on the road, you face all kinds of distractions. Some you cannot avoid, but you do have control over others.
There are three types of distraction. You will find that all three involve some sort of multitasking activity, which is something you want to avoid when you are behind the wheel.
The main types of driver distraction
Distraction falls into three main categories:
- Cognitive, the act of taking your mind off your driving
- Manual, taking your hands off the steering wheel
- Visual, taking your eyes off the road
A driver guilty of cognitive distraction might be reading a map, reaching for something that falls on the floor or gawking at an accident scene at the side of the road. If the driver removes his or hands from the wheel to eat a sandwich, manual distraction comes into play. Visual distraction will occur when, for example, the driver takes his or her eyes from the road to look at a fretful child in the back seat.
Combining all three
The reason texting is so dangerous is that it requires using all three activities: cognitive, manual and visual. Think about this: It takes about five seconds to send or read a text message, and before the driver reaches the end of the message, a crash could already have happened.
Surpassing drunk driving
The Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York released a study in 2013 which revealed that texting topped drunk driving as the leading cause of teen car crash fatalities. In fact, researchers found that response time is slower for a driver who is texting than it is for a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Other distraction problems
You have probably seen people putting on makeup or combing their hair, eating pizza, or guzzling a soda while driving. These are common but dangerous behaviors listed right behind texting. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 1,000 people suffer injuries every day in accidents involving distracted drivers. Do your best not to be among them.