Distracted driving is so much more than just texting

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When we hear the phrase "distracted driving," we likely think of a driver looking down at his or her phone, reading or sending a text message. While a large portion of distracted drivers are indeed texting, there are many other activities that can be just as distracting - and just as dangerous - that don't involve text messaging.

It is true that texting in particular is inherently dangerous because it involves three distinct levels of distraction: cognitive (your mind is focusing on the content of the message), visual (your eyes move away from the road to look at the screen) and manual (your hands come off the wheel to type in a response), but this isn't to say that it is the only dangerous behind the wheel distraction.

There are distractions of all make, model, type and category in our vehicles these days, and many of them don't necessarily even involve technology at all, though that certainly makes up a fair share of distracted driving.

Other distractions that we might not necessarily think of:

  • Eating and drinking - taking your eyes off the road and your hand off the wheel to pick up your coffee cup or snack, even for a split second, could prove dangerous if traffic patterns shift, someone slams on their brakes ahead of you, or a hazard appears in your lane
  • Boisterous conversation with passengers - this has been proven to be a particularly dangerous distraction for teen drivers, especially given that they lack the driving experience to recover from sudden hazards, overcorrections, weather patterns, etc.
  • In-car entertainment systems - these days most new vehicles come with so-called "infotainment" systems standard, which include such things as mp3 capability, audiobooks, visual feed from satellite radio and more
  • GPS navigation - many drivers don't take time ahead of their journey to plug in GPS coordinates, which means that they are trying to do it while driving, or they are reading the directions from a device to get to their destination, which can be just as distracting
  • Email and apps - these are just as high-tech as texting, but are thankfully not quite as common behind the wheel

As you can see, there is much more to the distracted driving epidemic than just texting. If you or someone you love was injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, consult an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.

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