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How to Prevent Distracted Driving: Know the Causes

Posted by Robert T. Karns | Jan 19, 2022 | 0 Comments

Distracted driving is known to be dangerous, yet many of us still find ourselves distracted behind the wheel. With so much going on, some may not even realize they are distracted. This can lead to serious accidents and disabling injuries.

To help you stay safe out on the road, our legal team at Karns & Kerrison is breaking down what causes distracted driving, as well as its most common forms.

What Causes Distracted Driving?

In most cases, distracted driving is rooted in confidence, complacency, or carelessness.

Confidence is typically viewed as a positive trait. When it comes to distracted driving, however, it is best to leave confidence in the driveway. Many drivers may find themselves taking risks because they are overconfident in their driving skills. The issue seems to be the same with complacency and carelessness. To put it simply: The longer we drive, the more likely we are to make exceptions for distracted driving.

Fatigue as a Distraction

The root of distracted driving may also be fatigue. Sometimes, people who are overworked, underslept, or burnt out may not realize it. If you have found yourself stretched thin, it is recommended that you delay getting behind the wheel. Ask a friend or family member for help, or opt for public transportation or rideshare.

Common Types of Distracted Driving

Anything can serve as a driver distraction. In fact, a person would be hard-pressed to try to list every single one. Luckily, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has categorized the many faces of distracted driving into three groups as follows.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions include any type of distraction that takes your eyes off the road.

A few of the most common examples include:

  • Smoking
  • Texting
  • Using social media
  • Eating and drinking
  • Fiddling with a navigation app
  • Fixing hair, makeup, or the like
  • Looking around for an object, such as a drink or phone
  • Rubbernecking at an accident, pedestrian, bicyclist, etc.

Manual Distractions

A manual distraction is simply any distraction that requires you to take a hand off the wheel. Most distractions fall under this category, including some also considered to be visual distractions. This is because you often need to hold a visual distraction.

Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Smoking
  • Typing out a text message
  • Dialing a phone number
  • Eating and drinking
  • Fixing hair, makeup, etc.
  • Changing the radio station
  • Adjusting climate controls
  • Adjusting car mirrors, seat height, and the like
  • Reaching for a drink, phone, or other object

Cognitive Distractions

Anything that takes your mind off driving is classified as a cognitive distraction, such as:

  • Talking on the phone, even hands-free
  • Talking to passengers
  • Getting distracted by rowdy passengers
  • Worrying about personal problems
  • Getting lost in thought

It is important to note that visual and manual distractions may also take your attention away from the road.

Many driver distractions are a hybrid of the three categories. Still, these categories can help drivers identify a distraction for what it is, even if it is not prohibited by law. (For example, many drivers think turning on and adjusting the heater is fine to do while driving, but it is safest to take care of any adjustments before you leave.) The more you know about distracted driving, the better you can prevent it.

Injured by a Distracted Driver? We Can Help.

At Karns & Kerrison, our Rhode Island car accident attorneys understand the pressing danger distracted driving poses to our neighbors in Providence, Middletown, and across the state. That's because we have seen the harm it can cause firsthand. If you have been injured in a distracted driving crash, our effective legal advocates will fight for you.

Call Karns & Kerrison at (888) 281-3100 to learn more in a free consultation.

About the Author

Robert T. Karns

Founding Attorney


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