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3 Types of Distracted Driving You May Do Everyday (Infographic)

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Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle crashes. In fact, a recent study found that nearly one in four crashes involve driver distraction.

The length of time the driver is distracted does not have to be substantial to make an impact - the average time a person’s eyes are taken off the road when distracted is five seconds. Although this may not seem like a lot, it is enough time to cover the distance of a football field when traveling at 55 miles per hour.

Even though we recognize the risks associated with distracted driving, adults and teens alike continue to use cell phones and participate in distracted driving frequently. A survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that over 90 percent of drivers recognized the danger of driving while distracted, yet over one-third of these same people admitted to having read or sent a text message or email while driving in the previous month.

Learn more about the different types of distracted driving and how you can become a safer driver with these tips!

3 Main Types of Distracted Driving

Traffic safety experts classify driving distractions into three main kinds – manual, visual and cognitive.


Manual distractions are those that require the drive to take one or both of their hands off the wheel. Manual distractions include:

  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • Adjusting the radio


Visual distractions are things that make you take your eyes off the road ahead. Visual distractions can include:

  • Operating a GPS device
  • Browsing a Music Playlist 
  • Searching for an item


Cognitive distractions are thoughts that keep your mind from focusing on the road. These can include:

  • Talking to passengers
  • Day Dreaming
  • Checking your email 

Because sending a text message requires visual, manual and cognitive attention from the driver, it is by far the most alarming distraction! In fact, drivers who use hand-held devices while driving are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves or others.

4 Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

Staying focused on the road can be challenging. Here’s some tips to help avoid some common distractions:

  • Manage your distractions before you drive. Eat before or after you plan to drive. Adjust your radio, find your sunglasses or set your  heat, all before putting the car in drive. 
  • Have a plan for your cell phone. Put your cellphone in the backseat or turn it off. You can also download an app that will reply to incoming calls or texts for you that you are driving. 
  • Program your GPS before leaving the house. 
  • Set a good example! All drivers need to set a good example for their children, peers and even future drivers to show that it is just not safe to text and/or talk on the phone while driving.