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What Are the 3 Types of Distractions While Driving

July 5, 2017

This guide answers all of your questions regarding the three main types of distracted driving. It explains these distracted driving types in detail while providing tools for you and your loved ones to steer clear of these harmful distractions.

When it comes to automobile accidents, most people assume that drunk or inexperienced drivers cause the most incidents. However, many of these car accident injuries are a result of distracted driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately 391,000 people suffered injuries in 2015 due to distracted driving.

If you’re involved in a distracted driver accident that you didn’t cause, you might need the help of a Denver car accident attorney to help see your claim through the legal process. At The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm, our attorneys care most about getting you the compensation you deserve for distracted driver-caused accidents.

Use this guide to better understand distracted driving statistics and conceptualize how the 3 different types of distracted driving put drivers at risk. No matter how skilled people think they are at driving, getting distracted can be dangerous, even if it’s only for a second. Don’t fall prey to this easily avoidable danger.

What is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving includes engaging in anything that takes your mind, eyes, or hands off the wheel and road. It takes three seconds to shift your attention back to the task of driving after you’re distracted, and while this may seem like a menial amount of time, it doesn’t take long for accidents to occur.

Your car travels at high speeds, which means it doesn’t take long for a distraction to cause catastrophic damages. Because automobiles travel at such high speeds, it is more difficult for drivers to anticipate hazardous conditions after being distracted, even if for only a short time.

What Are the Three Types of Distracted Driving?

The three types of distractions drivers face are visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.

Visual- taking your eyes off the road.
Manual- taking your hands off the wheel.
Cognitive-taking your mind off the road.

Visual Distracted Driving

Visual distracted driving includes any time that a driver’s visual attention diverts from the road. The instances that cause distracted driving range from texting while driving to taking your eyes off the road while traveling on a scenic stretch of highway.

Regardless of the cause, the results of visual distracted driving can be fatal. Because drivers have to be aware of the rapidly changing road conditions, keeping their eyes on the road is crucial.

Texting While Driving

Driving while texting in Colorado is currently prohibited and can result in significant penalties. The current texting while driving Colorado laws include stipulations that drivers must adhere to, such as:

  • Texting while driving is prohibited.
  • Drivers under 18 are prohibited from all cell phone use while driving. (This includes hands-free devices.)

In addition to the Colorado laws that already exist, Current legislation is under consideration that could result in stiffer penalties for drivers caught texting while driving.

Texting While Driving Law Exemptions

Drivers may use their cell phones while driving if they experience the following conditions:

  • The drivers fear for their life or safety.
  • The driver believes a criminal act is taking place.
  • The driver is reporting a fire.
  • The driver is reporting a careless driver.

Of the 36,750 lives lost to motor accidents in 2018, 5.7% of those were caused by texting drivers. Texting while driving may seem innocuous, but it can cause fatalities quicker and more sudden than one realizes

Outside Occurrences

It is not uncommon to be driving along and find something eye-catching. Perhaps there is an accident on the roadside, or another driver is doing something strange. Regardless, focusing on something else other than what is directly in front of you is dangerous. Drivers should not be engaging in rubbernecking.
There are plenty of other things that can cause a driver to become distracted, such as eating something or adjusting climate controls. However, everyone should be as safe as they can to avoid auto accidents.
Manual Distracted Driving
Texting while driving isn’t only an example of visual distractions; if someone takes their hands off the wheel, it can also be a manual distraction. Another common type of manual distracted driving is eating/or drinking.
Eating/Drinking Distracted Driving

No matter someone’s hunger level, they should never take their hands off the wheel to grab that burger or sandwich they have in the passenger seat. This type of distracted driving can also be visual because to reach for your food items or take a bit out of your sandwich, you might take your eyes off the road.

According to a study completed by Lytx, drivers who are eating/drinking are 3.7x more likely to be involved in a car crash than their attentive counterparts. Additionally, eating/drinking causes many near-miss accidents. This is because people can keep their eyes on the road some of the time while eating, but they still wind up diverting some attention to the act of eating and drinking.

Eating/Drinking Laws in Colorado

While Colorado laws don’t explicitly rule out eating/drinking non-alcoholic beverages, distracted driving is against the law. Thus, if you cause an accident due to you eating your lunch in the car while driving, you could face legal consequences.

Vice versa, if someone hits you with their car because they were distracted by eating, you might be entitled to damages. In both cases, an experienced car or motorcycle injury attorney can walk you through the legal process to ensure no one can take advantage of you.

Cognitive Distracted Driving

Have you ever driven somewhere, and upon arrival, you have no clue how you got there? The third type of distracted driving is cognitive distracted driving, which involves no tangible source for the distraction. Cognitive distractions include being lost in thought and talking to other passengers.

Lost in Thought While Driving

Bloomberg found that ten percent of auto accidents are caused by distracted driving, and of those accidents, 62% were caused by drivers who were lost in thought.

People occasionally daydream or get lost in thought while driving. While it happens to everyone, being aware of the dangers of this distraction can potentially save lives.

Talking to Passengers While Driving

According to federal data, texting while driving isn’t the most dangerous type of distracted driving. “What is the most common cause,” you ask? Talking to the person in the passenger seat.

This statistic may come as a surprise to you, given all of the attention paid to cracking down on texting while driving. However, if you think about the attention level you pay to passengers and how humans communicate, the statistic makes sense.

Humans don’t only communicate using their voices; they use their bodies for physical gestures. Additionally, while a text appears one-at-a-time, conversations have a steady stream of information on which to focus. These factors may explain why talking while driving is one of the most dangerous distractions while driving.

Consider Your Distracted Driving Habits and Call Paul if You Have Distracted Driving Legal Issues

Distracted driving can have fatal consequences, which is why it’s essential to educate yourself on the various risks one takes when indulging in such practices. This guide explained the three types of distracted driving and the emerging distracted driving laws. Use it as a guide to benefit your driving habits.

The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm has attorneys who specialize in all sorts of accidents, including distracted driver accidents. If you or a loved one has been involved in a distracted while driving accident, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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The Paul Wilkinson Law Firm has been fighting for justice for over 12 years. We’re here to stand with you in your quest for fair and full compensation when you’ve been injured in an accident. We have recovered tens of millions of dollars in personal injury settlements and verdicts and have helped thousands of people get back on their feet after experiencing serious injuries.

Each of the attorneys at the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm specializes in personal injury accidents. All of our attorneys offer a hands-on approach to their cases and will aggressively fight in our quest for compensation. Feel confident that you are in the right hands with the Paul Wilkinson Law Firm.