Colburn Law

No Fees Unless We Win   206-919-3215

click for free consultation

Colburn Law

The Main Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become a pervasive issue in the United States, claiming thousands of lives and causing countless injuries every year. While many people associate distracted driving solely with texting behind the wheel, the truth is that numerous types of distractions can divert a driver’s attention from the critical task of operating their vehicle safely. All distractions have the potential to lead to accidents, causing serious consequences for drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike.

most common types of distracted driving

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions occur when a driver takes one or both hands off the steering wheel to engage in an activity unrelated to driving. Common examples include:

  • Texting
  • Dialing a phone number
  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming or applying makeup
  • Reaching for an object in the vehicle.

When a driver’s hands are not on the wheel, they have less control over their vehicle and may be unable to react quickly to sudden changes in traffic or road conditions. Even a momentary manual distraction can lead to a serious accident, especially when driving at high speeds or in heavy traffic.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions happen when a driver takes their eyes off the road to focus on something else, such as a phone screen, a GPS device, a billboard, or a passenger in the vehicle. When a driver’s eyes are not on the road, they may fail to notice important visual cues such as traffic signals, road signs, or the brake lights of vehicles ahead of them. Visual distractions can be particularly dangerous because they can cause a driver to drift out of their lane, miss a turn, or fail to see a pedestrian, cyclist, or stalled vehicle until it is too late to avoid a collision.

Auditory Distractions

Auditory distractions occur when a driver’s attention is diverted by sounds inside or outside the vehicle, such as loud music, a ringing phone, or a conversation with a passenger. While auditory distractions may seem less dangerous than manual or visual distractions, they can still impair a driver’s ability to hear important sounds such as sirens, horns, or the screech of tires. In addition, loud or emotionally charged conversations inside a vehicle may cause a driver to lose focus, even if they are not directly involved in these discussions.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions happen when a driver’s mind is not fully focused on the task of driving, even if their hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road. Common cognitive distractions include:

  • Daydreaming
  • Worrying about personal problems
  • Mentally rehearsing a conversation
  • Focusing too intently on a podcast or audiobook
  • Having intense conversations with passengers

When a driver’s mind is not fully engaged in the task of driving, they may have slower reaction times, make poor decisions, or fail to anticipate potential hazards on the road. All of these factors can lead to a serious accident.

Seek Justice After a Distracted Driving Accident with Colburn Law

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents on Washington roads. If you’ve been injured by a distracted driver, a car accident lawyer at Colburn Law can help. We will thoroughly investigate your case, gather evidence, and fight for the justice you deserve. Contact us today at (206) 919-3215 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about your legal options.