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What are the three types of driver distraction?

Each time you get behind the wheel of your car, you assume a certain level of risk. Even if you are a by-the-book driver and careful to adhere to all the rules of the road, there is little you can do to see that others do the same. Today's motorists are busy and often stressed, and this stress sometimes leads to multitasking behind the wheel to get everything done on schedule. Doing so can prove tremendously dangerous, however, because anything that diverts your visual, manual or cognitive attention away from the roadway has the capacity to cause an accident. Some behaviors only involve one type of distracted driving while others combine two types or even all three. Here is a closer look at the three types of driver distraction along with some tips on how you can avoid engaging in actions that divert your attention away from the immediate task at hand.

Visual distractions

A visual distraction is anything that takes your eyes away from the road directly ahead of you. "Rubbernecking," or driving by an accident scene and craning your neck to get a better look at its aftermath, is one example of a visual distraction. Looking down to read a text message or looking at the floor to grab something you dropped are others. That text message and that dropped drink, wallet, phone, etc. can wait until you are safely parked somewhere with the keys out of the ignition.

Manual distractions

A manual distraction is one that takes your hands away from your vehicle's controls for any amount of time while your car is in operation. Reaching down to pick up and take a drink is one example of a manual distraction. Rifling through your purse or briefcase or flipping through a road map are others. Keep both hands actively engaged in driving at all times to minimize your chances of an accident caused by a manual distraction.

Cognitive distractions

Cognitive distractions are those that take your mental attention away from safely operating your vehicle. Maybe you are distracted by the contents of a book on tape, or maybe you are struggling with a recent breakup or firing. Cognitive distractions have the capacity to lead to serious injuries and even death, so it is your responsibility, the motorist, to drive only when you are mentally stable and present enough to safely do so.

While there is only so much you can do to prevent others from engaging in dangerous distracted driving behaviors, you can modify your own behavior behind the wheel for the betterment of everyone on the road. If you have been hurt because of another's distracted driving actions, consider speaking with an attorney.

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