Distracted driving is often thought of as driving while talking on a cellphone — or texting — but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warns that it’s much more than that. They define it as anything at all that makes the driver think about something or do something that is not directly related to driving the car. Certainly, sending a text message falls into that category, but so do things like changing the radio station and eating behind the wheel.
There are three main types that the NHTSA focuses on, the first of which is that of manual distractions. These are the types of things that make drivers take their hands off the wheel. For instance, if your cellphone falls down under your seat and you reach down to pick it up, that’s a manual distraction.
The second category includes visual distractions. Drivers are supposed to keep their eyes on the road at all times, but visual distractions draw their eyes elsewhere. If you turn to make eye contact when talking to someone in the back seat, that’s a visual distraction.
Finally, there are cognitive distractions. This is when you’re thinking of anything else. Even if you’re looking at the road and holding the steering wheel, if you’re not thinking about driving but are instead daydreaming about the weekend or trying to solve a problem at work, you’re cognitively distracted.
Of course, these can all happen at once, leading to a highly elevated degree of danger. Distracted driving is one of the main reasons for accidents in the United States, so those who are injured by these drivers need to know how to seek compensation.
Source: EndDD, “Distracted Driving Facts,” accessed Sep. 28, 2016