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April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

The National Security Council has labeled April as the official distracted driving awareness month. For those who are unaware, the statistics surrounding accidents related to distracted drivers are appalling. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), vehicle accidents related to distracted driving are responsible for 387,000 injuries and 3,331 deaths. This means that accidents caused by distracted drivers are responsible for 17% of all injuries and 10% of deaths caused by accidents. In honor of distracted driving awareness month, here is a look into the three forms of distraction.

1. Manual Distractions … reaching for things, eyes off the road, even for a moment …

Manual distractions are perhaps the most easy to eliminate. These distractions refer to any instance where a driver’s hand is removed from the steering wheel. This can happen when a driver reaches into the passenger or rear seats to grab something. To avoid these distractions, one simply needs to exercise a bit of discipline by holding two hands on the steering wheel at both times. Placing a cell phone in the trunk of a car can also be a useful trick.

2. Visual Distractions … cell phones, electronic devices are the worst …

Although a bit harder to avoid than manual distractions, visual distractions can also be decreased. Visual distractions refer to any instance where a driver’s eyes are take off the road. Visual perception is one of the primary faculties that allow humans to drive effectively without crashing into everything around. Therefore, the chances for vehicle accidents rise exponentially with visual distractions. Similar to manual distractions, drivers need to focus on keeping their eyes on the road.

3. Cognitive Distractions … driving on “automatic pilot,” so to speak, lost in your head …

Cognitive distractions are a bit more abstract than visual or manual distractions. These distractions refer to instances in which a driver’s mind is not focused on the process of driving. These distractions are a bit more complex because of their mental nature. Drivers can attempt to avoid cognitive distractions by not engaging in anything that may take their primary attention away from driving itself.

When referring to all three types of distractions, cell phones are one of the most tempting distractions in the modern era. One only needs to look around when driving to see how many people are using phones while driving. Cell phones usage is incredibly dangerous as it requires hands, eyes and the mind. Therefore, drivers must resist the urge to use cell phones at all cost.