Texting and driving are often listed as the “worst” examples of distracted driving, and for good reason. Texting and driving involves four simultaneous forms of distraction and when combined it becomes impossible to safely operate a motor vehicle. Here’s a short list of what everyone needs to be aware and of about the types of distracted driving.
Visual distractions are those things you see inside or outside your vehicle which require you to take your eyes and focus off the road. Examples include of these distractions include advertisements, children playing and turning your head to look at a passenger anywhere in the car. If you look just a few seconds too long, you could miss a critical change in traffic and end up getting into a crash.
Auditory distractions are what you hear inside or outside or your car. Music at a reasonable volume typically doesn’t impair driving, very loud music might. The sound of passengers talking, a baby crying, or sounds outside your vehicle like construction or another driver’s music, can all serve as a distraction that makes driving less safe.
Physical distraction includes anything you touch or engage with inside your car. Rolling down a window or changing the radio volume while unlikely to result in a crash still have the ability to distract you and remove focus from the act of driving. Some manual distractions are much more likely to cause a crash and should be avoided. These distractions include texting, driving, applying makeup, and eating.
Thought distraction is when you become distracted while driving by thinking about something other than the road in front of you or the traffic around you. Daydreaming may only last a couple of seconds, but that’s all that’s needed to cause a crash. Keep your attention where it needs to be by narrating the scenery or other cars on the road either out loud or to yourself.
Texting while driving includes all four elements of distraction. Visual, auditory, physical and thought distractions. Each one of these should be avoided at all costs while driving and when someone participates in all four bad things can happen.
Understanding the different distractions the California Assembly picked April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month and it comes just two months before California Assembly Bill 47 takes effect. This new law will make distracted driving a more serious offense. Existing laws provide an exemption for using a cell phone while driving if the device is designed to be used hands-free, commonly with a Bluetooth device. However, starting July 1, if a driver receives a second violation within 36 months for using a handheld cell phone while driving, they will be fined and have a point added to their driver’s record.
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