California became one of the first states to make driving and talking on a cellphone illegal. Even so, more and more drivers continue to drive while distracted by phones.
The statistics on distracted driving accidents have begun to look more like drunk driving statistics. What actually constitutes distracted driving? Here are the three elements behind driving distracted.
1. Taking eyes off the road equals a visual distraction
Visual distraction while driving takes the shape of many things. The driver could glance down at the radio to adjust stations, check out the name of a song or switch to Bluetooth. The most obvious thing these days that keeps drivers' eyes off the path ahead is their smartphone. Texting causes drivers to take their eyes off the road for an average of five seconds per message. That is the time it takes at highway speeds to drive the entire distance of a football field.
2. Taking hands off the wheel equals a manual distraction
How many times does a driver take one or both hands off the wheel during a trip? Drivers have numerous temptations when it comes to touching things while driving. GPS screens, radio knobs, hair, a partner's hand – all of these acts equal a manual distraction. Again, the most prominent guilty object is a smartphone.
3. Taking the mind out of the equation is a cognitive distraction
Most drivers have driven for a minute or two, looked around and not realized how they got there. Someone could drive with the radio off and the smartphone locked in the trunk and still wind up distracted driving. Zoning out just means the driver does not have full mental focus on the task at hand. In the case of driving, this equals big problems.
Understanding the body systems driving while distracted utilizes may further reinforce the need to stay alert and device-free on the road.