It’s possible that you’ve never been involved in a car accident. It’s also possible that you’ve been guilty of sending a quick text message while behind the wheel. If both these statements are true, then it might be hard to imagine how dangerous using your phone while driving can be.
However, in 2018, about 400,000 individuals suffered injuries due to distracted drivers. So, unfortunately, it’s quite easy to see that you risk both your safety and the safety of others when you choose to partake in distractions like texting and driving. Understanding how texting and driving diverts your attention from the road can be motivation to keep your phone down as you commute.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are three main types of distractions on the road — cognitive, visual and manual. With a closer look at each category of distraction, it’ clear to see that texting and driving requires various combinations of the three:
- Cognitive: Shifting your attention through a thought or activity that takes your focus away from the road is a cognitive distraction. This can include reading a text message or drafting a response, even if you have a hands-off technology in your car.
- Visual: Taking your eyes off the road for a brief or long period of time can be a fatal hazard. Looking at your phone to scan a message, type in a phone number or scroll through social media are all visual distractions.
- Manual: Manual distractions require you to take your hands off of the steering wheel. Again, this includes picking up and using your phone with one or both of your hands while you are in motion.
The NHTSA reports that during any point during the day, about 800,000 drivers across the country are simultaneously driving while using a handheld device, like a cell phone or GPS. So, even if you aren’t picking up your phone while driving, chances are you are amongst drivers who are using their phone behind the wheel. As such, it’s important to not only keep your phone down because you might cause an accident, but you might also miss erratic driving cues from other drivers engaged in distractions.