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Types of Driving Distractions

Distracted driving is one of the biggest problems Texans face on the roads today causing injuries, fatalities and massive amounts of car accident property damage. According to the CDC, at least eight people are killed and 1,000 people are injured every day in the United States in collisions that involve distracted drivers.

A driver is considered distracted when they are participating in any activity that takes their full focus away from driving their vehicle. You can be distracted while driving a car, truck, bus, or even an ATV. Every distraction a driver pays attention to increases the chance that driver will cause a car crash.

3 Types of Distractions While Driving

There are an infinite number of distractions drivers must tune out when operating their vehicles. The most common types of distractions can be divided into three categories – visual, manual, and cognitive. Understanding the three main types of distractions can help you learn how to avoid them and keep your focus completely on the road ahead.

1. Visual Distractions

A visual distraction is one that takes a driver’s eyes off the road. When most people think of distracted driving, they immediately think of visual distractions because the world around us is full of visual distractions.

Before cell phones, we had large roadside billboards, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, car accidents we passed along the way, children misbehaving in the back seat, the gauges on the instrument panel, and more. As technology has advanced, cell phones, GPS systems, complicated entertainment centers, and TV screens in cars have increased the possibility of being visually distracted while driving.

Visual distractions can prevent a driver from having enough time to brake when traffic stops suddenly. This often leads to rear end accidents and highly dangerous t-bone accidents.

2. Manual Distractions


A manual distraction is one that physically takes a driver’s hands off the wheel for any amount of time. This immediately reduces the amount of control a driver has over their vehicle, as it takes both hands to safely maneuver a car on the road. Some examples of manual distractions include eating, drinking, smoking, vaping, adjusting the temperature in the vehicle, putting on makeup, getting something from a purse or bag, and more.

More people indulge in manual distractions than they realize. Manual distractions considerably reduce a driver’s reaction time when they need to make a sudden change, including turning the wheel quickly.

3. Cognitive Distractions

A cognitive distraction takes the driver’s mind off of driving. These distractions are the hardest to detect as drivers do not realize they are distracted until they snap out of it or it is too late and they end up in an accident. In most cases, the driver looks like they are doing everything right but their mind has lost focus and they are not able to react to changes on the road.

Some cognitive distractions include listening to music or a podcast, having a conversation via Bluetooth, daydreaming, talking to another passenger, thinking about stressful topics, or thinking about what you want to cook for dinner. It does not take much to become cognitively distracted while driving.

Multiple Distractions

When thinking about distracted driving, most people think of texting while driving, which has not been mentioned yet. That is because it combines multiple types of distractions and is exceptionally more dangerous than just one type of distraction. Texting while driving involves visual, manual, and cognitive distractions and is thus also known as a triple threat. This means that your mental and physical attention is fully on the phone instead of on the road.

Texting and driving has caused countless car accidents and has killed thousands of people. Even adjusting a vehicle’s air conditioning can be a triple threat distraction. A driver is first distracted cognitively by determining they are uncomfortably warm. They then physically move their hand off the steering wheel and look at the air conditioning controls. They have to then refocus on the road ahead once they are comfortable with the temperature. These distractions can quickly compound and lead to catastrophic car accident injuries.

Why Contact a Distracted Driver Lawyer?

When an accident occurs because of a distracted driver, in Texas it must be proven that the distracted driver was at fault in the car accident.  A distracted driver lawyer, such as the experienced Pearland accident attorneys at J.D. Silva & Associates, has experience holding reckless drivers accountable for their actions, and fighting insurance company attorneys in complex situations such as hit and run accidents and car accidents with uninsured drivers.

This can include fighting for:

  1. reimbursement of medical bills,
  2. assistance with ongoing disabilities caused by the car accident,
  3. payment for lost wages (current and future), and;
  4. assistance with pain, suffering, and emotional distress.

We work with the insurance companies to obtain the maximum amount you are due and to ensure the responsible parties are held accountable. J.D. Silva & Associates wants to keep Texas safe from dangerous distracted drivers and make sure victims in these accidents get the help they deserve. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident caused by a distracted driver, contact us today at 281-971-3200.