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Are there different types of distracted driving?

If you see any safety ads trying to stop distracted driving, they probably focus on texting and driving. That's because it's one of the most common and most dangerous types of distraction.

Of course, the reality is that there are nearly endless distractions on the road. Passengers in the car can be a distraction. So can changing the radio station. So can reading a billboard. So can simply letting your mind wander and thinking about anything: disagreements with friends, stress at work, fun plans for the weekend, etc.

As far as different "types" are concerned, though, experts have divided distraction into three main groups. These are:

  • Visual distractions: Your eyes should stay on the road, and anything that causes them to leave the road is a visual distraction. Examples include rubbernecking at an accident, looking at a phone and turning to talk to children in the back seat.
  • Manual distractions: You should always have two hands on the wheel, and anything that takes one or both of them away is a manual distraction. Examples include typing a text message, eating a meal or picking up something that you dropped on the floor.
  • Cognitive distractions: Your mind should always be on the road and the task of driving. Anything else you think about is a cognitive distraction. Examples include daydreaming, worrying and thinking about what you're going to do when you arrive at your destination.

The worst distractions are those that hit all three areas, such as texting. If you get injured in an accident with a distracted driver, you need to know what legal options you have.

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