Although many drivers don’t realize it, driver distractions are one of Texas’s leading causes of car accidents. Even the simplest ones, such as talking on the phone while driving, can have devastating consequences, and that’s why you need to be aware of how they occur and how to avoid them to protect yourself and other people on the road.
Manual distractions take your hands off the wheel, such as fiddling with the car stereo, eating or drinking, or using a navigation system. Even something as simple as adjusting the air conditioning can be a manual distraction and a potential cause of car accidents. The best way to avoid manual distractions is to plan. If you know you need to adjust the car’s controls, do it before you start driving.
These distractions refer to anything that takes your eyes off the road. This can include looking at a passenger in the car, looking at something outside the car, or reading a map. If you need to look away from the road, it’s best to pull over to a safe location first. Sometimes, you may not be able to avoid a visual distraction, such as if you need to look at your car’s navigation system. In this case, it’s important to take extra care and go slowly.
Cognitive distractions are anything that takes your mind off driving. This can include talking to passengers, daydreaming or even thinking about something stressing you out. The best way to avoid cognitive distractions is to focus on the task at hand: driving. If your mind wanders, take a break from driving or pull over to a safe location.
All forms of distracted driving increase your chances of getting into an accident by reducing your ability to react to potential hazards and increasing the likelihood that you’ll make mistakes. For example, if you’re talking on the phone and not paying attention to the road, you might not see a car stopped ahead of you in time to brake. As a result, distracted driving car accidents can range from minor fender benders to major collisions that result in serious injuries or even death. No matter how big or small, however, car accidents are always a hassle and can be costly.