What are the three categories of driver distraction?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2020 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

New Jersey drivers like you do what you can to keep yourself safe on the road. This means keeping your wits about you. It means getting enough sleep before driving. It means avoiding driver distraction. 

And there are plenty of types of driver distractions. This umbrella term covers a wide variety of happenings. But most of these can break down into three main categories. 

The National Safety Council mentions different categories of driver distraction. These are important distinctions in their campaign against hands-free tech. It only addresses two of the three types of distraction. What are these three types of distraction, then? 

Physical distractions 

First are physical distractions. These distractions take your hands off the wheel. This is a crucial component to driving. Without the ability to steer, you veer into other lanes. You could drive into oncoming traffic. Most people over-correct when they notice they are drifting. This leads to similar problems. You may take your hand off the wheel to pick up something you dropped, to eat, or to change radio stations. 

Visual distractions 

Next are visual distractions. This includes anything that takes your eyes off the road. This is one of the biggest dangers of texting while driving. Looking at your screen for even three seconds is enough for you to drive the distance of a football field. In that time, anything could happen. You may also look away from the road if you are talking to passengers. Distractions outside of the car may draw your attention too, like a crash. 

Cognitive distractions 

Finally, there are cognitive distractions. This is the biggest category. It includes anything that takes your mind off of driving. Everything from conversations to planning out your next meal count as cognitive distractions. They are almost impossible to combat. This is what makes them so dangerous. Together, these categories represent just about any distraction you face. 


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