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A driver being distracted by his cell phone.

The 3 True Types of Distracted Driving

On Behalf of The Law Office of Bruce C. Betzer Dec. 13, 2022

Using the cellphone in the car is definitely a type of distracted driving, but did you know that it’s actually three types happening at once? This is why using a phone in the car is so dangerous and why it consistently leads to serious accidents.

Part of the issue with distracted driving is that people don’t always fully understand exactly how it causes car accidents. They believe they can multitask and drive it safely while using the phone, for instance, but this is a myth. That is just one reason why these accidents continue to happen as drivers mistakenly make this assumption.

As a result, let’s look at the three different types of distracted driving noted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Knowing how it works helps you know what to avoid.

Mental Distractions

Mental or cognitive distractions cause someone to think about something other than driving, and it takes their mind off of the task at hand. For example, someone who is daydreaming may react a bit late when traffic slows down ahead of them. They might have had their foot on the brake pedal the whole time, but if they didn’t think to push the brakes fast enough, they could cause a rear-end accident.

Visual Distractions

Naturally, keeping your eyes on the road is imperative for safe driving. Anything that causes you to look away is a visual distraction. Examples include looking at a passenger while talking, reading signs on the side of the road or typing a text message on your cellphone. When your eyes aren’t on the road, that also inhibits your reaction times.

Manual Distractions

Finally, a driver’s hands should always be somewhere on the controls, and usually on the steering wheel. Manual distractions mean that this basic level of control doesn’t happen. People often do not realize how common these distractions are, as they can include things like taking a drink from a cup of coffee, changing the radio station or adjusting the GPS.

If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by a distracted driver, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your medical bills and other costs.