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Distracted driving goes beyond cellphone use

On Behalf of | Nov 18, 2021 | Motor vehicle crashes

It is an unfortunately common sight. While driving down the road in Trenton, a driver sees a car ahead moving in unpredictable and dangerous ways. It fails to stay in its lane, or it is going too slow or too fast for conditions. When the driver catches up with the erratic vehicle, they see its driver is looking down at their cellphone instead of at the road.

Distracted driving is a problem in New Jersey and throughout the nation. It happens when a driver’s focus leaves the road and settles somewhere else. Though cellphones are a major contributor to distracted driving, the practice occurs because of other causes as well.

Visual and manual distractions

Cellphone use is an example of both a visual and manual distraction. That is because it a driver typically holds it with their hands and looks at it with their eyes while driving. Other examples of visual and manual distractions are:

  • Maps that drivers look at and hold
  • Food that drivers look at and hold
  • Grooming tools that drivers manipulate and look at to use

Anything that a driver holds instead of a steering wheel, or looks at instead of the road, may be considered a visual and/or manual distraction.

Cognitive distractions

Cognitive distractions are distractions that impact a driver’s mind. Daydreaming is an example of a cognitive distraction. When a driver is focused on work or thinks about concerns over their family, they may lose focus on the road and cause a distracted driving accident. Even though they are not looking away or holding a different object, they can be distracted by their own thoughts.

Drivers should avoid distractions while operating their vehicles. Unfortunately, many drivers do not prioritize this practice. Injuries and deaths can result when drivers make distracted driving mistakes.