According to the NHTSA, over 3,331 people were killed and over 387,000 injured in motor vehicle accidents where distracted driving was a factor. About 10% of all fatal crashes and 17 percent of all accidents that caused injuries. The 3 types of driver distractions include smoking and messing with vehicle controls. Regardless of the distraction, distracted drivers can cost others their lives.
The 3 Types of Driver Distractions
Driver distractions are classified as either: Manual, visual and cognitive.
Manual Distractions: These distractions cause you to take your hands off of the wheel. This could be something so simple as reaching for your drink or adjusting your mirrors. Manual distractions also include reaching behind you to tend to a screaming child or grabbing something from the floor of your car.
Visual Distractions: Visual distractions cause you to take your eyes off of the road. For example, looking back at a sick child. This can also include surveying the damaged from a spilled soda in the backseat.
Cognitive Distractions: A cognitive distraction is when your mind is not focused on driving. You could be thinking about what you need to do when you get home. You could also be stressed about running late. Your brain is somewhere else, and your attention is not on the road.
Common Driver Distractions
Distracted driving is any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving. All distractions endanger driver, passenger, and bystander safety. Many types of distractions do not include cell phones including:
- Smoking: According to crash reports, smoking (lighting a cigarette or putting it out) is a factor in roughly 1% of all crashes nationwide. It is estimated that cigarette smokers take their eyes off of the road for approximately 12 seconds while lighting up.
- Messing with Car Settings: Adjusting your seat or your mirrors while driving are distractions. Typing in an address into a navigation system is a distraction. These distractions cause accidents.
- Changing the Radio Station: 2% of distracted drivers admit to adjusting the radio or the temperature. Taking your eyes off of the road for 2 seconds increases your odds of an accident by 24 times.
- Eating and Drinking: Before smartphones and texting while driving, eating while driving was the leading accident cause of accidents involving distracted drivers.
- Passengers: Chatting with friends and dealing with crazy kids are common distractions leading to car wrecks.
- Looking off Into the Distance or Enjoying the Scenery.
- Daydreaming: Daydreamers account for 62% of distracted drivers that cause accidents.