When you drive, anything that takes your focus away from the task of operating your vehicle is a distraction. This is why distracted driving is more than simply using your cellphone to text while you drive.
Distracted driving is an issue that kills approximately eight people in the U.S. every day, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are also three primary types of driver distraction, which include manual, visual and cognitive distraction.
1. Manual distraction
This type of driver distraction happens when you take your hands off the steering wheel as your vehicle is in motion. For instance, you become manually distracted when you grab something in your glove compartment or reach for something in your bag as you drive.
2. Visual distraction
When you take your eyes off the road, you become visually distracted. If, for example, you look at a GPS to get directions or you look down at your cellphone while you drive, you are visually distracted, which can increase your risk of getting into a serious car accident.
3. Cognitive distraction
Any activity that causes you to stop mentally focusing on driving is a cognitive distraction. For example, you become cognitively distracted when you talk to a passenger in your vehicle or focus heavily on an interesting podcast as you drive into work.
Even though any cognitive, visual or manual distraction is dangerous, texting and driving remains as the most hazardous type of driver distraction. This is because it combines all three forms of distraction.