Types of Distracted Driving

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Distracted driving is a huge problem in the United States. Every day, thousands of people are injured or killed in motor vehicle crashes because of distracted drivers. Even commercial drivers are guilty of distracted driving. Whether in a passenger vehicle or large truck, accidents caused by distractions can be fatal.

If you’ve been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our car accident attorneys draw from over a century of combined experience to fight on behalf of victims harmed in all types of car accidents, including those caused by distracted driving.

distracted driver at steering wheel with smartphone in her hand.

Three Types of Distracted Driving

When people think of distracted driving, the first thing that may come to mind is texting and driving. While this is a major form of distracted driving, it is not the only behavior that takes a driver’s eyes and attention off the road. There are three main types of distractions:

Visual Distractions

One of the most common types of distracted driving is a visual distraction. This occurs when drivers take their eyes off the road to look at something else. This can be anything from looking at a cell phone to looking at a passenger in the car. Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash accidents often happen due to visual distractions.

Manual Distractions

Another common type of distracted driving is a manual distraction. This occurs when drivers take their hands off the wheel to do something else. This can be anything from using a phone to fiddling with the radio.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when a driver takes their mind off the road to think about something else. This can be anything from thinking about a problem at work to daydreaming.

Drunk young man driving a car with a bottle of beer. Distracted Driving

Dangerous Driving Behaviors

Many distracted driving crashes occur when a driver uses their cell phone. Even if a driver is not actively looking at it, the smartphone’s sounds and vibrations may be enough to take a driver’s mind off the road.

In addition to smartphones, distractions for drivers include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Eating and drinking. Reaching for a drink, looking down at the food, searching for napkins, and more can all take a driver’s eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel.
  • Applying makeup. This activity takes a person’s eyes off the road and hands off the steering wheel for an extended period.
  • Managing children or pets. Children and pets may become distracting, particularly if children start crying or fussing and if pets start moving around the vehicle.
  • Having a conversation with passengers. Driving becomes more distracting the more passengers are in the vehicle. Even having a conversation with passengers may take some of a driver’s cognitive function off the task of driving.
  • Fiddling with the radio or other controls. Adjusting the radio station or air conditioner takes at least one of a driver’s hands off the steering wheel, distracting a driver’s manual attention from driving.

Distracted Driving and Teens

Teens are especially susceptible to distracted driving. They are more likely to be engaged in risky behaviors, such as texting while driving. They also have less experience as drivers.

According to data from the CDC, in 2019, in fatal crashes involving distracted drivers in the U.S., a higher percentage of drivers aged 15–20 were distracted than drivers aged 21 and older. Among these younger drivers, 9% were distracted at the time of the fatal car accident.

It’s important for parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of distracted driving and set a good example by not engaging in these behaviors themselves.

How to Avoid Distractions

The best way to avoid driving distractions is to be aware of them. Know what types of things can distract you and make a conscious effort to avoid them. If you’re feeling tired or unfocused, pull over and take a break. Avoid taking phone calls or texting while driving, by putting your phone on “do not disturb.”

No distraction is worth risking your life for. Stay safe on the road by being aware of the dangers of distracted driving!

How to Avoid Distractions

Injured by a Distracted Driver? We Can Help

Unfortunately, many motorists do not understand that driving comes with a responsibility to drive safely and carefully. Instead, they engage in behaviors that they know are distracting and dangerous.

If you are looking for the highest level of representation available for your personal injury case, turn to Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. Our firm has helped clients recover more than $500 million in compensation, and we have more than 100 years of combined experience. All of our partners are recognized by Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers®, and our firm includes three past presidents of the Trial Lawyers Association of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, our Washington D.C. attorneys at Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel P.C. are prepared to fight for you. We work to help our clients obtain fair settlement offers to compensate them for the injuries they’ve suffered, but our attorneys are extremely well-equipped to go to trial if needed. Call (202) 659-8600  or contact us online to get the proven legal representation you deserve.

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