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What are the 3 kinds of driver distraction?

On Behalf of | Sep 18, 2023 | Driving safety

It should be pretty clear to everyone by now that distracted driving is dangerous.  Yet, many people still continue to do it.

One of the reasons for this is that many people don’t really understand what distraction means. For example, they think that because it is illegal to handhold a phone but perfectly legal to make and receive calls via a hands-free system, the only issue with handholding a phone is that your hand is not on the steering wheel.

That is grossly underestimating the problem. The problem with phone use and many other things drivers do is so much bigger. Distraction works in three ways:

1. Physical

Having your phone in one hand will mean you don’t have both hands on the wheel and so are less able to steer, especially if a sudden maneuver is required to avoid someone or something. It’s the same with a cup of coffee, a stick of lipstick or anything else people might hold while driving.

2. Visual

When you have a phone in your hand you tend to look at it. It visually distracts you. So do things such as glancing in the mirror to check you have applied your lipstick correctly, turning to check your child is okay, or reading a billboard that you pass.

3. Mental

Having a conversation requires you to think about what you are hearing and what you will reply. That leaves you less concentration to focus on the road, and less mental space to make a quick decision that could help you avoid a crash. Listening to podcasts, the radio or even just reflecting on a moment or conversation earlier in the day are also mentally distracting.

If someone crashed into you, getting help to understand what may have been distracting them could help you get the compensation you need.