If you drive regularly in Texas, chances are you text or scroll your phone while driving. You’re not alone. Many motor vehicle accidents happen because the driver wasn’t paying attention, and it’s important to understand the many ways you can be distracted while driving. There are three main types of driver distractions.
When you’re not focused on the task at hand, whether it’s because you’re tired, daydreaming or thinking about something else entirely, you’re cognitively distracted. This type of distraction is extremely dangerous because your brain isn’t processing what’s happening around you. When, for instance, you’re daydreaming and not paying attention to the road, you could easily miss a stop sign or swerve into oncoming traffic, potentially leading to a motor vehicle accident.
If you take your eyes off the road, even for a split second, you’re visually distracted. This includes activities like looking at passengers in the backseat, checking your GPS or looking at something outside of the car. Even if you’re only visually distracted for a moment, it can be long enough to cause an accident, especially if you’re driving at high speeds.
Manual distractions occur when you take your hands off the steering wheel. This might happen if you’re fumbling with your phone, adjusting the radio or reaching for something in the backseat. Sometimes, even resting your hands on your lap or taking them off the wheel to eat can be enough to cause an accident. Like visual distractions, manual distractions can quickly lead to a crash, especially if you’re not in control of your vehicle.
The best way to avoid distractions is to be aware of them. If you’re feeling tired, pull over and take a break. If you need to eat or drink, wait until you’re stopped. And, put your phone away before you get in the car – no text or call is worth risking your life or the lives of others. Remember, motor vehicle accidents can happen in an instant, so it’s always better to err on the side of caution.