April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Staying distraction-free is important for your safety and the safety of other’s on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that there are at least 3000 deaths annually from distraction-affected crashes. Today we are discussing the different type of distractions that you may face when you are driving.
Visual distractions are things that you see that can take your eyes off of the road. That little bobble head happily bouncing back and forth on your dashboard or those fuzzy dice on your review mirror are examples of visual distractions. If you were for some reason trying to watch a video while driving, that would be a terrible visual distraction. There are enough distractions on the road to be aware of, so you should remove all of these unnecessary distractions and keep your eyes forward and check your mirrors while you are driving.
Physical distracted driving is also sometimes known as manual distracted driving. Physical distractions is anything that you are physically doing with your hands or body when you should be focused on driving. Physical distracted driving could be the result of trying to put on makeup in the car, or adjusting the radio. Many people like the idea of hands-free phone calls, because it reduces the physical distractions of picking up and answering the phone. But, even though it doesn’t require that you use one hand to hold it to your head, it may not really be safer. To avoid these distractions try to always keep your hands on the wheel or on the gear box. All of those other distractions really can wait until you are parked.
Cognitive distractions are things that occupy your mind and concentration. Talking to friend is a cognitive distraction. Trying to figure out where you are going while you are driving can be a cognitive distraction. This is probably the most difficult type of distraction to avoid. Everyone’s mind wanders now and then, and no one thinks twice about chatting with your passenger.
These types of distractions don’t have to exist alone. In fact, texting while driving is so incredibly dangerous because it combines all of the different possible types of distracted driving. When you are texting, the screen of your phone provides a visual distraction. The act of picking up the phone and texting is a physical distraction. The act of thinking about the text you have received and coming up with a response is a cognitive distraction. This triple threat is so dangerous, according to the Hanowski, 2009 study, your risk of experiencing a crash or near crash is over 23 times higher while texting.
One of the best ways to stay safe while driving is to stay distraction-free. If you think about that things that distract you while driving you can more easily avoid them. Driving distraction free is especially important when you are driving a moving truck, and have not only yourself, but all of your possessions in the vehicle with you. Want to know more about distracted driving, why it is dangerous and how to avoid it? Go to our Moving Insider distracted driving category, and stay safe out there on the roads!
What type of distracted driving are you the most prone to? Tell us in the comment section or join the conversation on Twitter with #DDAM for Distracted Driving Awareness Month.