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Tips to Understand What Is Considered Distracted Driving

September 3, 2013

driving with cell phoneDistracted driving is a serious problem which is getting more and more attention as it becomes a leading cause of road accidents. Many different provinces have begun to take action against it by outlawing many habits which are a common source of distracted driving and punishing them with fines. Most people still think of distracted driving as simply using their cell phone while behind the wheel, but it is more than that. Distracted driving refers to any task which forces you to take your eyes off the road, your mind off driving or your hands off the wheel. With these tips you should be able to have a better understanding of what distracted driving is and why you should not do it.

1. Know what it is

Distracted driving is placed into three different categories: visual, cognitive and manual. Visual means that it is a task which makes you look somewhere else instead of keeping your eyes on the road ahead. Cognitive means that it takes your mind off driving and forces you to focus on something else. Manual means that it is a task which requires use of your hands, thus forcing you to take them off the wheel. Anything that causes one, two or all three of these problems is considered distracted driving. Common examples include texting other people, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, reading, using the GPS, picking something off the floor etc.

2. Texting is the main problem

Most people think that reading or sending a text does not take long so it is ok to do it while driving. In reality, this is a big cause of distracted driving-related accidents, as well as traffic tickets. This is something that people do frequently. However, texting is also something that causes all three different types of distracted driving: you are watching the phone screen, you are using your hand to type and you are paying attention to what you write. This leaves you in a very vulnerable position which has a high likelihood of causing a crash.

3. Teenagers are the worst offenders

Since texting is the main cause of these kinds of accidents and teenagers text the most, it is understandable that they would be the ones who cause the most crashes. However, the problem is that they are also the most inexperienced drivers on the road. This means that their ability to complete other tasks while driving or to correct a mistake and avoid an accident is also far lower than other drivers.

4. Pets can be considered a cause

One question most people still have is whether pets can be considered to be causes of distracted driving or not. They can be, if they are in a situation where they force the driver to pay attention to them more than the road. In certain regions, just having a pet in the front seat is considered a cause of distracted driving and can be punished with a fine.