When behind the wheel, drivers have a variety of details that require their focus: steering, monitoring their speed, checking their mirrors, looking out for hazards and reading road signs, among others. These distractions can lead to accidents, and accidents related to distracted driving result in hundreds of thousands of injuries each year.
The Centers for Disease Control notes that distractions can come in three different forms. These include visual distractions that take a driver’s eyes from the road, cognitive distractions that distract them mentally and manual distractions that remove their hands from the wheel. What manual distractions might put others on the roadway at risk?
1. Cell phone use
When a driver responds to a text, checks their navigation software, answers a call or seeks out information on the internet via their smartphone, these distractions can cause serious risk. Not only does cell phone use act as a manual distraction, it also takes the driver’s eyes and focus off the road.
2. Eating and drinking
While eating or drinking might seem to some like a practical way to get nourishment when commuting or traveling on a long road trip, it can be a serious cause of manual distraction. In fact, one 2014 study found that drivers may be as much as 3.6 times as likely to be involved in a crash if they eat or drink behind the wheel
3. Looking for items in the car
If drivers focus on their destination, they may find it tempting to find their wallet, pull out an item they need to drop off or reach for another item they will need once they have arrived. However, this search pulls their hands away from the steering wheel and can increase risk of an accident.
These distractions may be common, but that does not make them any less dangerous. Thankfully, people harmed by distracted drivers can take legal action to get the financial support they need and hold drivers responsible for their actions.