As motorists, we all face distractions every day; they come in many forms. Texting, however, is the most dangerous type of distraction, and many drivers are far too complacent about it.

You may practice good driving habits yourself and refrain from using your cellphone in the car. However, you cannot control the behavior of the other drivers with whom you share the road.

The forms of distraction explained

There are three main types of distraction: manual, meaning you take your hands off the wheel; visual, which refers to taking your eyes off the road; and cognitive, directing your attention to something other than driving. Of these, manual is probably the least likely to cause a problem because there is an assumption that you rarely remove both hands from the wheel at once. As to visual, you obviously need to look where you are going, or you might as well drive with your eyes closed. Cognitive distraction has to do with the brain’s inability to process too much information at one time. Therefore, if you are multitasking — say, eating and talking on your cellphone while driving — you are putting yourself in a risky situation because your brain will have trouble concentrating on the effort of operating the vehicle properly.

The trouble with texting

Texting involves the use of manual, cognitive and visual forms of distraction simultaneously, which is why this activity is so dangerous. Survey findings, such as those released by the National Safety Council, reveal that high numbers of people — close to half of all drivers — are comfortable with texting while driving. Many high school and college students are members of this group. They may acknowledge that there is a risk, but it does not concern them enough to stow their phones while driving.

Staying safe

Tennessee drivers are no strangers to distractions, whether they involve eating, drinking, gawking at an accident at the side of the road, or using a cellphone to call or text. A personal injury attorney will tell you that a devastating crash can happen in the blink of an eye. Do your part to arrive safely at your destination: Keep your hands on the wheel, your eyes on the road and your cellphone well out of reach.