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What are the 3 types of driver distraction?

You put yourself at risk for getting involved in a distracted driving accident whenever you get behind the wheel of a car. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that every day in the U.S., about eight people die in car accidents involving driver distraction.

When you think about distracted driving, texting and driving is probably the first thing that comes to your mind. But driver distraction extends to many other activities, and each of these activities can fall into one of three categories: visual, cognitive and manual distraction.

1. Visual

When you stop looking at the road as you drive, you become visually distracted. For example, visual distraction happens when you look at your phone to see who is calling or when you look at your back seat for a missing item.

2. Cognitive

Cognitive distraction occurs when you stop solely focusing on driving. For example, you become cognitively distracted when you try to hold a conversation with a passenger or when you focus on the day’s tasks ahead of you while you commute to the office.

3. Manual

Taking your hands off of the steering wheel results in manual distraction. If, for instance, you remove your hands from the steering wheel to search for a CD in your glove compartment or take your hands off the wheel to switch the radio station, you become manually distracted.

Although activities that distract you visually, cognitively and manually are all hazardous when you drive, texting and driving is the most dangerous. This is because it combines all three types of driver distraction.