When you hear or read the term “distracted driving,” what do you think about? Most people associate distracted driving with using a cellphone behind the wheel — typing or reading text messages, looking at a GPS app, talking on the phone, and so forth.
Phone use is one of the most common forms of distracted driving in Southwest Florida, but it is not the only way dangerous drivers distract themselves. As the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reminds us, there are three versions of distracted driving:
- Visual: things that your eyes off the road
- Manual: things that take one or both of your hands off the steering wheel
- Cognitive: things that take your mind off the task of driving
Some things, like texting and driving, fit into all three categories. Looking at your phone while typing with (at least) one hand means you are visually and manually distracted. Plus, you are thinking about what to text instead of concentrating on the road.
Then there are things like eating, combing your hair, putting on makeup, dealing with kids in the backseat or daydreaming. All of these things take your eyes, hands, and/or mind off of their most important task: operating your vehicle as safely as reasonably possible.
When a distracted driver hits a responsible driver in SW Florida
People who make every reasonable effort to keep their attention on driving reduce the risk of a car crash, but they may not be able to avoid an out-of-control distracted driver. A collision with a distracted driver could change your life forever if you end up permanently disabled or if a loved one was killed in the wreck.