Distracted driving takes many forms if you consider each individual type of distraction you may encounter on the road. Texting and driving is just one. So is changing the radio station. So is eating on the way to work. So is talking to your children in the back seat while driving. The list goes on and on.
However, when you really break things down in a more general sense, there are just three main forms of distraction: cognitive, manual and visual.
You can have them all at once, as you do with something like texting and driving. Looking at the screen on your smartphone is a visual issue, taking the phone out of your pocket and holding it is a manual issue and reading the text or thinking about what you’re going to write is a cognitive issue. In this way, some types of distraction check each box and increase the danger on the road dramatically.
What you’ll find is that drivers often try to reduce one type of distraction without properly identifying the others. This is why a hands-free device isn’t perfectly safe. It does reduce the visual distraction because other than looking at the button to start the call, you can keep your eyes on the road. It also reduces the manual distraction since, after the call is going, you can keep both hands on the wheel. However, the cognitive distraction of having a conversation in the car is still there.
As you can see, driving distractions are both complicated and common. If a distracted driver hits you, be sure you know what options you have.