woman putting on makeup while driving a car

Manual, Visual, or Cognitive: Which Distraction is Most Dangerous?

What You Should Know About the Three Kinds of Distractions

As distracted driving continues to rise with the increased popularity of self-driving vehicles and new electronic devices, it is crucial that all motorists know about the three kinds of distractions behind the wheel. Defined simply as manual, visual, and cognitive distractions, knowing common examples of these and why they can be dangerous can help improve your driving overall.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions are one of the most common kinds of distractions that can happen while a person is driving. In its simplest definition, a manual distraction is anything that takes one or both hands off the wheel. This can include everyday tasks like doing your makeup, typing on your phone, changing the radio, or eating/drinking.

Driving with one hand may seem harmless, and it's no surprise that many drivers do this daily. However, only using one hand while driving has proven to slow reaction times and inhibit your ability to steer. A study conducted in Great Britain even found that an action as simple as eating while driving can increase reaction times by about 44%.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions are those that take your eyes off the road, and unfortunately, there is no shortage of them while driving. Billboards, neon signs, and looking down at your phone are all distractions that one may frequently have to deal with during a trip of any length.

It shouldn't be surprising that taking your eyes off the road can endanger you while driving. A well-known statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights that taking your eyes off the road for five seconds at 55 miles per hour would have you traveling the length of a standard football field unknowingly. Along with this, a Virginia Tech study showed that taking your eyes off the road for even two seconds doubles your risk of a crash.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions are those that take your brain off the road. Some of the most common examples are talking on the phone or with a passenger, daydreaming, and listening to the radio. Another infamous example of this is a phenomenon called “highway hypnosis,” so-called for the trance-like state someone may fall into after driving for extended periods of time.

The National Safety Council has been observing drivers with cognitive distractions for years. Their research found a significant number of dangers that may be associated with this, including slower reaction times and decreased alertness/awareness of surroundings.

Which is the Most Dangerous?

While it has been repeatedly established that any form of distracted driving is dangerous, there is not one specific kind that will inevitably lead to injury, although different variations of the three can likely have severe consequenc6es. There is, however, a particular action that a driver can do that combines all three—using an electronic device while driving. Here is why:

  1. It requires the use of your hands to navigate apps and dial numbers/text.
  2. It often puts eyes on the device rather than the road.
  3. It can impact your attention even after the device is put away.

Because of the increased risks that come with being distracted, Georgia prohibits the use of handheld electronic devices while driving. With an estimated 3100 nationwide deaths from distracted driving annually, it is imperative that you know your rights following a collision with a distracted driver.

Georgia Car Accident Attorneys

You and your family should never have to worry about becoming injured on the roads because of someone else’s negligence. If involved in a collision with a distracted driver, you do have rights to compensation for your injuries.

Berelc Law Firm has been serving Georgia motorists for over a decade and is ready to help you on the road to recovery. Call (706) 914-1915 or fill out this form to schedule a consultation with a member of our team.

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