More information about the dangers of distracted driving emerges every year. As studies improve the public’s general understanding of crashes caused by distractions, a harsher spotlight also ends up shining on some of the biggest continued offenders — texting while driving — which persists despite many safety campaigns specifically targeting it.
Visual and physical distractions
The dangers around texting while driving cannot be overstated. It is one of the most dangerous types of distractions, encompassing all three of the main areas of risk: visual, physical and mental.
Visual distractions can take your eyes off the road and include distractions both inside and outside of the vehicle. Examples include “rubbernecking”, i.e. looking at crashes or other issues outside of your car because you are curious to see what happened. It can also include looking down to pick up something you dropped on the car floor.
Physical distractions take your hands away from the wheel. This can include everything from fixing makeup and eating or drinking, to changing the radio station or the temperature in the vehicle.
Mental distractions will take your mind away from focusing on driving, and is the most all-encompassing form of distraction. Literally, anything that distracts you mentally from focusing on the road counts as a mental distraction, including a conversation with passengers or thinking about how to get to your destination.
The toll of driving distractions
Texting hits all three of these categories. You take your eyes off the road to look at the screen, take your hands off the wheel to text, and pay attention to the conversation, which mentally distracts you. This is why texting proves to be one of the biggest risks a driver can take on the road.
Unfortunately, many drivers today think nothing of taking their eyes off the road to respond to a text, which can lead to major accidents and injuries.