Even though driving has become routine and an integral part of our lives, we often forget that this daily activity involves a high degree of responsibility and can even result in serious damages or end someone's life in mere moments if we’re not careful.
In 2017, there were an estimated of over 40,000 vehicle deaths in the US, which is why it's so important to be aware of what distractions exist while at the wheel, to keep your eyes constantly on the road, and to know how to practice safe driving. You should also keep in mind that other drivers can also become distracted, so you will have to keep an eye out for that as well.
Distractions while driving come in many shapes and sizes. Nevertheless, they can all be classified into three major categories: Manual, Visual, and Cognitive. The first category implies any actions that involve you taking your hands off the wheel.
The Visual category is related to all distractions that make you take your eyes off the road, while the Cognitive category is about whatever takes your mind off of driving. With that being said, here are several examples of distractions that you may encounter while on the road.
Manual Driving Distractions
Manual distractions are those that cause you to take one or both hands off the wheel. Among these, we have:
- Eating and/or drinking.
- Talking on the phone.
- Adjusting your child's seatbelt.
- Picking things off the floor.
- Searching through your belongings.
- Turning knobs.
Visual Driving Distractions
Visual distractions will cause you to look away from the road for whatever reason. Among these, we have things such as:
- Checking and adjusting your navigation.
- Playing with the radio.
- Adjusting the temperature.
- Admiring the scenery.
- Touching up your makeup.
Cognitive Driving Distractions
In this category, we have any sorts of distractions that make your mind wander or lose focus from driving. Several examples that can be identified as cognitive driving distractions are:
- Talking to other passengers or on the phone.
- Thinking about upsetting or troubling personal or work-related matters.
- Road rage.
- Driving under the influence.
You should also take into consideration the dangers that come with drowsy driving. Being extremely tired while at the wheel can pose a very serious danger.
Texting is equally as serious. It can easily fall into any of the three categories mentioned above and is a leading cause of car accidents nationwide.
Avoiding these Distractions
Some of these may be harder to avoid than it would seem at first glance. Nevertheless, here are several tips on how to achieve that.
Whatever happens on the road, try and keep calm. Stress can also be a distraction. If the situation requires it, pull over and resolve the issue, instead of trying to do it while driving. Avoid getting engaged in a heated argument while behind the wheel. If applicable, ask the other passengers to work the navigation, radio, and AC. If not, try setting everything up before you start moving.
Also, consider putting your phone on silent mode before starting your engine, to avoid the temptation of looking, talking, or texting. Beware of the fact that even hands-free devices were proven not to protect you from distractions. They, pretty much divert the attention as much as phones without these devices, and also give a false sense of security.
We here at Mike Duman Auto Super Store are all about safe and responsible driving. We would much rather have you visit us to purchase a car or come in for a regular checkup than to fix any major damages. We will gladly help, of course, but it's better to not be in that situation, to begin with.