3 Types of Distracted Driving and How to Avoid It

by Maddi Butler

With technology all around us, it’s tempting to keep up with it at all times—including while driving. Distracted driving is now one of the biggest driving hazards, especially for young drivers.

As young drivers become more comfortable behind the wheel, they may also pay attention to other things in the car. According to the DMV, there are three types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. They are equally dangerous because driving requires most (if not all) of a driver’s attention. Here is how each affects drivers and how to prevent them.

Manual Driving Distractions

When a driver is manually distracted they remove one or both hands from the wheel. Manual distraction behavior includes:

  • Eating or drinking

  • Adjusting a child’s seatbelt

  • Looking for something in a purse, wallet, or another part of the car

  • Adjusting different buttons or knobs

To prevent this type of distraction, stow your phone or turn off notifications. Be sure to make all adjustments to your seat and car temperature before driving. This also includes moving items so you don’t have to reach for things while driving.

Visual Driving Distractions

Visual distractions cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. These are things like

  • Looking for items

  • Using your GPS

  • Changing car settings

  • Looking in the visor mirror

To avoid these, keep your eyes on the road. If you need to look at directions or text a friend, pull over before doing so.

Cognitive Driving Distractions

Cognitive distractions take your brain off of driving. These are things like:

  • Talking to other passengers

  • Engaging in road rage

  • Daydreaming

  • Prevent your mind from drifting by avoiding phone calls and strong emotions. Stay focused on the road.

    Though phones are a common cause of distracted driving, they are not the only thing to cause it. Use this knowledge to prevent other types of distracted driving and drive safer.

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