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What causes distracted driving?

On Behalf of | Sep 1, 2019 | firm news |

Distracted driving has developed into a significant issue in the United States. Every day multiple people suffer injuries or lose their lives in car accidents involving a distracted driver. It is a constantly changing issue that evolves as different distractions become more prevalent.

There are multiple major causes of distracted driving that fall under three distinct categories. Visual refers to distractions that force the driver to take his or her eyes off the road. Manual accounts for distractions that lead the driver to taking his or her hands off the wheel. Finally, cognitive distractions occur when the driver takes his or her mind off of driving.

Each cause of distracted driving falls under these three categories, and it is crucial to be aware of which distractions specifically apply to you.

Lost in thought

Potentially the greatest cause of distracted driving is also the most difficult to describe. Drivers lost in thought contributes to a large percentage of accidents every year. Lost in thought refers to when drivers take their minds off driving and instead think of something completely different than operating their vehicle. It is an example of a cognitive distraction.

This could occur when someone has a rough day at work and continues to spend time thinking about it while driving home. There are countless examples of different things drivers may think about other than the cars in front of them, but the fact is that losing focus while driving puts the driver at risk of injury.


Technology has quickly evolved into one of the most prominent distractions for drivers. Cell phones, in particular, contributed to 401 fatal crashes in 2017. The cell phone issue specifically tends to affect the younger generation, which has in turn made technology a greater problem. This is largely because of all the distractions embedded within one device. Making phone calls, reviewing text messages and scrolling through social media all distract drivers from the road and have the potential to lead to accidents.

Global positioning systems, changing the radio station and other devices commonly used inside vehicles also create distractions for drivers. Technology can be a visual, manual or cognitive distraction depending on the situation. Drivers take their eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off of driving, effectively contributing to a large number off accidents annually.


When you get in the car with someone else, you probably do not think that the other people in your car could contribute to an accident. The harsh truth is that passengers are one of the most common distractions for drivers. Depending on the situation, people sharing the car with you could demand your attention in a variety of different ways.

Almost all parents can relate to a child distracting them in some form. Teenagers may touch the driver or pull his or her eyes from the road in another way. Simply, all age groups of passengers distract the driver in different ways. This may come in the form of a visual or manual distraction depending on how the passenger impacts the driver.

Outside distractions

Have you ever slowed down to see what is happening on the side of the road? This is a common example of how outside distractions affect drivers. Outside distractions impact drivers every time someone or something from outside the vehicle pulls your attention away from driving.

It can take multiple forms, but this is most commonly a visual distraction. Simply taking your eyes off what is in front of you for a split second can lead to a car accident. Naturally, it is safer for both you and other people on the road for you to focus on your driving and not the distractions going on outside.

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