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What are the 3 types of distractions drivers must consider?

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2024 | Personal Injury

Distraction is a significant factor in the huge number of accidents and deaths on our roads each year. If more drivers paid more attention, more of the time, it would be better for everyone.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons distraction is so prevalent is that people don’t fully understand the mechanisms behind it. There are three ways a thing can distract you, and some can distract you in all three ways.

1. Physical distraction

If you take a hand off the wheel to grab some food, tune in the radio or pass your child their toy, you are physically distracted. Even if you still hold the wheel with the other hand you are less able to turn that wheel quickly should you need to.

2. Visual distractions

Drivers should keep their eyes focused on the road, alternating between looking through the windshield and scanning their mirrors. Doing this gives them the optimal chance of spotting any hazards they need to react to. 

Unfortunately, this can be challenging as there are so many other things trying to grab a driver’s visual attention, from the road signs (which they need to look at) to the sign for Burt’s Burger Joint which they don’t, from the deer passing outside, to their dog in the back seat. If any of these sights hold a driver’s attention too long, they could miss something vital on the road ahead.

3. Cognitive distractions

What is your brain working on while you drive? Is it calculating how soon you need to brake to stop at the red light in time, or is it thinking about your upcoming business meeting or the beach vacation you just got back from? It can be hard to keep your brain focused on driving, but failing to do so increases the risk you crash.

Trying to avoid distraction yourself won’t guarantee you avoid a crash, as other road users could still be distracted. If one of them injures you, you’ll need to learn how to show the crash was their fault to get the compensation you deserve.