The 4 Categories of Distracted Driving


According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2018

400,000 people were injured in crashes involving distracted drivers

2,841 lives were lost due to distracted driving

Of those lives lost

1,730 were drivers

605 were passengers

400 were pedestrians

And 77 were cyclists

Distracted driving affects everyone.


In this video we will be looking at the four categories of distraction drivers may experience on the road. Distracted driving is when drivers engage in other activities that take away their attention from the road.

Visual Distractions

First let’s talk about visual distractions.

Visual distractions are anything that take your visual field away from the direction you are driving. This could range from things like billboards, a street sign, a nice car, a person on the street, your passenger, or your GPS or cellphone.

We all know that things can change quickly on the road, sometimes in just fractions of a second, so keeping your eyes focused on the road is critical for not just your safety, but the safety of others.


Physical Distractions

Physical distractions, also known as manual distractions, is anytime you take one or both your hands off the steering wheel while driving. This can include, eating and drinking, texting, searching for items that fell underneath the driver seat, or reaching for items in the passenger or back seat.

Physical distractions by its very nature reduces the amount of control you have of your vehicle. You must keep both your hands on the wheel to safely operate your vehicle, keeping yourself and others on the road safe.

Auditory Distractions

Auditory distractions are any noises that affect our ability to hear and take away our attention from driving. These distractions can include listening to music at a high volume, a phone conversation, a conversation with passengers, screaming children, and text notification rings or ringtones.

Ever wonder why when you get lost while driving you tend to turn down the volume of our car? The phrase, “hearing yourself think,” holds some truth. Many car manufacturers now offer features such as rearview cameras. If you listen closely, you’ll realize that the volume of your radio is automatically lowered in order to help you focus.

Keep your music playing at a reasonable level, educate your children about your need for focus while driving to keep them quiet, and stay off the phone while driving.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when a driver diverts his or her attention to another mentally demanding tasks. Talking on a hands-free cell phone and using a voice-activated electronic system are two activities that produce almost purely cognitive distraction. Emotions can also alter our ability to drive. Feelings such as anger, sadness, or aloofness can keep you from driving with a clear mind at full attention. Your reaction time slows down significantly when your mind is preoccupied with other thoughts and mental tasks.