What Are the Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving is an extremely dangerous practice in the United States, causing thousands of injuries and claiming several lives every single year. Driving requires our complete mental, visual, and manual attention, and any activity that takes us away from the road is a form of distracted driving. From texting to talking on the phone to eating and applying makeup, distracted driving can come in many different forms. 

The Three Main Types of Distracted Driving

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 9 people die and over 1,000 people suffer injuries due to distracted driving every day. Many people do not realize how dangerous this practice actually is – if you read a text while driving 55 miles per hour, your eyes leave the road for 5 seconds. This is the equivalent of driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded.

Many people think of texting and driving or talking on the phone when discussing distracted driving. However, driving distractions can come in many different forms. There are three main types of distracted driving.

  • Visual distractions, which take your eyes off the road, such as reading a text
  • Manual distractions, which take your hands away from controlling the vehicle, such as applying makeup
  • Cognitive distractions, which take your mind off the act of driving, such as having an intense conversation with a passenger

Distraction #1: Using a Smartphone

Some activities combine all three of these types of distractions, such as reading and responding to an email or a text on your smartphone. You take your eyes off the road to read the email, you take your hands off the wheel to respond to it, and you focus your mind on the contents of the email instead of driving. This combination of distractions can be very dangerous to you, your passengers, and other people on the road.

Any action involving the use of a smartphone while driving is a dangerous distraction. Even using a hands-free talking device can distract your mind from what is actually happening around you. For best results, keep your phone out of sight.

Distraction #2: Kids in the Car

You may drive your children from place to place often, but children can cause serious distractions. Loud arguments, talking to your kids, or other noisy distractions can take your mind and eyes off the road. While there is no easy remedy for child-related distractions, remind your children that you need to focus on driving while you are all in the car and to help limit the noise.

Distraction #3: Reading Directions and Using a GPS

While GPS features are standard in many cars, relying on one too closely can lead to an accident. This is because reading directions can keep your eyes off the road and your mind off of driving. If you’re programming a GPS on the road, this action takes your hands off the wheel. Set your GPS before you go and rely on audio directions instead of reading them on the screen.

Distraction #4: Eating and Drinking

While you may need to eat your lunch on the go or get your morning caffeine before you get into work, the act of eating and drinking can distract you from driving. You’re focusing on the food instead of the road, and your hands are away from the wheel – which could be dangerous in case of an unexpected event. Save the food and drinks for after your drive.

Distraction #5: Grooming and Driving

Many people apply makeup, brush their hair, or even change their clothes while driving. This is often due to a time crunch during the morning commute. However, grooming can be fatal if you do it on the road – either get ready before you get into the car, change in a public restroom, or wait until you get into work.

While many people are aware of the dangers of distracted driving, many drivers still engage in this practice each day. These actions put other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, and passengers at risk of injury and death. If you are in an accident with a distracted driver, you could claim compensation for your injuries through a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. Speak to a Las Vegas car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your path forward.