Cell phone use is one of the most common and dangerous forms that distracted driving can take. However, just because you do not use your cell phone while driving does not mean that you do not become distracted. There are plenty of low-tech distractions you may face while driving. Some are unavoidable, but you can choose how much attention you choose to pay to them when you encounter them.
There are three different types of distractions. However, they are not entirely distinct categories. There is a lot of overlap among them. The more categories into which a distraction fits, the more dangerous it is.
Anything that takes your mind off the task of driving is a mental distraction. As a matter of fact, all driving distractions are mental distractions because the definition of distraction is something that takes your mind off what you are doing. However, there are mental distractions that involve only your mind.
For example, daydreaming, listening to music, talking to passengers in the car, or even using a hands-free device to have a conversation are all examples of activities that occupy your mind while your hands and eyes go on autopilot. They usually aren’t illegal because laws against them would be almost impossible to enforce. However, they do have distraction potential and should be limited.
A manual distraction is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, if even for a moment. This makes it difficult for you to steer the vehicle properly, especially if there is a hazard in your path that you need to avoid. Examples of manual distractions include changing CDs or manipulating vehicle instruments not related to its operation, e.g., climate controls. Many people seek to save time by eating and drinking during their daily commutes. However, consuming your morning meal during your commute is an example of a manual distraction.
A visual distraction is anything that takes your eyes off the road when driving. If you gawk at a crash scene as you pass or check yourself out in the mirror, you are distracting yourself visually.
Another potentially dangerous distraction that is nevertheless common in every city and along every highway in the country is billboards. Reading the message on a billboard takes your eyes off the road for approximately six seconds if the graphic designer sticks to the recommended seven-word maximum.
The reason that driver distraction is so closely associated with handheld cell phones is that their use involves all three types of distractions at once. Hopefully, you never run afoul of a driver distracted by a cell phone and become injured, but if you do, the best auto accident lawyer in Memphis, TN may be able to help.
Thanks to Patterson Bray for their insight into personal injury claims and distracted driving.