If you’ve ever been behind the wheel of a car for any length of time, you know that there are plenty of distractions out there. Cellphones, other vehicles, disruptive passengers, the radio — even your morning coffee — can all be distractions.
All distractions can basically be classified as visual, manual or cognitive. Visual distractions take your eyes away from the road. Something that suddenly catches the sun at the side of your vision and makes you look that way, for example, would be a visual distraction.
Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel, but there’s very little thought behind them. You may be guilty of giving into a manual distraction if you’re in the habit of sipping coffee while you drive.
Cognitive distractions take your mind off what you’re supposed to be doing. For example, you could just be thinking about the argument you had with someone at work and forget to pay attention to the road.
Many distractions pose a double or triple threat, however. For example, if you play with your radio every time a song comes on that you don’t like, that’s both a manual and a cognitive distraction. Your hand can keep hitting the search button to find another station without looking, but your mind is partially focused on listening to the music that comes up.
Remember the Pokemon Go craze? That game was popular because it engaged people’s hands, eyes and minds — which is precisely why it didn’t take long for someone to wreck their car while playing behind the wheel.
A car accident with a distracted driver can be devastating. If you’ve been injured, find out more about your options.