According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, in 2019, 3,142 lives were lost on the road due to distracted drivers. We’ve all heard about fatalities due to texting and driving, but that isn’t the only form of distracted driving. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, so we want to shed some light on other things that can impact your ability to drive safely. These distractions can be broken down into three categories:
A visual distraction is something that causes you to take your eyes off the road in front of you. Looking out the window at a crash, turning to face a passenger, and even checking the directions on your GPS are all kinds of visual distractions. Even though some of these instances can be quick, a few seconds of taking your eyes off the road can be all it takes to get into a crash. In that time, the car in front of you could hit the brakes, or you could start swerving into the next lane without even realizing it.
Manual distractions happen when you take your hands off the wheel to grab something else. These include things like eating, changing the radio station, or checking your phone. When you’ve got one of your hands full, it slows your reaction time. If an animal suddenly runs across the road, you’ve only got one hand on the wheel to swerve around it, which doesn’t give you much control at all.
This type of distraction is harder to fight, as many times we don’t even realize we’re being distracted. Daydreaming, even for a short while, leaves you in a trance-like state. It can begin as simply thinking of what you’re going to do tomorrow, but soon you’ll be zoning out—when you come to, you may have the sudden realization that you haven’t been paying attention to the road.
Some distractions, like texting and driving, can be a combination of all three types. When you’re texting, you’re visually distracted because you’re not looking at the road, and you’re manually distracted because you’re holding something. This can also be a cognitive distraction because you’re thinking about what the other person has said or what you’re going to say, taking your mind off driving.
Unfortunately, even if you’re not driving distracted, other drivers around you may be. Always drive with caution, and if you do get into a collision, bring your car to Crossroads Collision for repairs. We’re happy to work with your insurance company and want to get your car back in shape as soon as possible!