If you get in your car to go somewhere, you likely know that using your cell phone while you drive is hazardous to yourself, any passengers in your car and other drivers. But distracted driving encompasses many more activities besides just texting and driving.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every day in the U.S., nine people die in car crashes related to distracted driving. Many of these accidents occur when someone uses a cell phone or engages in another form of visual, cognitive or manual distraction.
Drivers who become visually distracted no longer look solely at the road in front of them while they operate a vehicle. For example, if you look down at your GPS device to get directions or look at the back seat of your car for something while you drive, you become visually distracted.
Manual distraction occurs when you take one or both of your hands off of the steering wheel as you drive. You can become manually distracted if you take your hands off the steering wheel to eat or change the radio station, for example.
When drivers stop thinking about driving as their vehicle is in motion, they can become cognitively distracted. If, for example, you get lost in thought and cannot remember the last few miles you drove, you likely experienced cognitive distraction.
Although any type of driver distraction is dangerous, texting and driving is one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving. This is because this activity combines cognitive, visual and manual distraction all at once.