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Is there more than one type of distracted driving?

A car accident can result in injuries that affect all aspects of your life. Following a serious collision, you may become unable to go back to work, care for family members or participate in activities you used to enjoy.

In 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2.1 million emergency room visits occurred for car accident injuries, and many of these accidents happened because of distracted driving. Although many assume using a cellphone and driving is the primary form of driver distraction, other types of distraction can cause serious collisions.

Manual distraction

When you take your hands off the steering wheel while your vehicle is in motion, you become manually distracted. For example, if you reach for something in your backseat or turn the knob on your car’s radio to change the station, manual distraction occurs.

Visual distraction

You become visually distracted when you stop looking at the road while you drive. For instance, if you look down to get directions on a GPS device, read a text message or look at something beside you, visual distraction happens.

Cognitive distraction

Cognitive distraction can happen when you stop focusing on driving. If, for example, you cannot remember the last few exits you drove, you are likely cognitively distracted.

Although any form of manual distraction, visual distraction or cognitive distraction while driving is hazardous to yourself and others, trying to text and drive is the most dangerous distracted driving activity. This is because texting, while you drive, combines all three types of distraction, creating a higher risk of an accident.