Distracted driving involves any activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of a crash. There are three main types of driving distraction:
Visual — taking your eyes off the road
Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive — taking your mind off what you are doing
Distracted driving activities include:
- Composing, sending or reading text messages
- Dialing or talking on a cell phone
- Changing the radio station, CD or MP3 player
- Eating, drinking or smoking
- Picking something up from the floor or between the seats
- Writing or reading (including maps)
- Using a PDA or navigation system
- Reaching for the glove compartment
- Cleaning the inside of the windshield
- Talking to passengers
- Combing or brushing your hair.
- Putting on makeup
- Putting in contact lenses or using eye drops
- Doing your nails
- Watching a video
While all these distractions can endanger a driver’s safety and that of others on the road, texting is the most dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction — visual, manual and cognitive.
Reduce driving distracted by adhering to the following basic suggestions:
Limit interaction with passengers — Limit talking while driving, keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.
Avoid driver fatigue — Stay focused on the road and don’t drive if you are tired .If necessary, share driving responsibilities on long trips.
Don’t drive when angry or upset — Emotions can interfere with safe driving. Wait until you have cooled down or resolved problems before getting behind the wheel of a car.
Avoid gawking — Don’t take your eyes off the road to look at a crash or other activity
If you need to use your cell phone — Pull off the road and stop in a safe place to use your phone.
Source: Maricopa County, Arizona