It’s Distracted Driving Month! Understanding the 3 Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted drivers pose a real threat to everyone on the road. As personal injury attorneys, we know firsthand the devastating consequences that can result from a moment of inattention behind the wheel. This Distracted Driving Month, we want to raise awareness about the three main types of distracted driving and help prevent further tragedies.

Visual Distractions

When you take your eyes off the road, visual distractions can occur. Examples include looking at your phone, reading a text message, or glancing at a navigation system. Even a brief visual distraction can cause you to miss critical information, such as a stop sign or a pedestrian crossing the street. To avoid visual distractions, keep your eyes on the road at all times and pull over if you need to check your phone or adjust your GPS.

Manual Distractions

Taking your hands off the wheel can cause manual distractions. Examples include eating, drinking, applying makeup, or reaching for an object in the car. These distractions can significantly reduce your ability to control your vehicle and react to unexpected situations. To minimize manual distractions, keep both hands on the wheel and avoid engaging in activities that require you to remove them.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions happen when you do not focus your mind on driving. You can experience this when you lose yourself in thought, daydream, converse with passengers, or talk on the phone. Even hands-free devices can cognitively distract you, as they still demand your mental attention. To reduce cognitive distractions, focus your mind on the task of driving and avoid engaging in mentally demanding activities while behind the wheel.

The Consequences of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can lead to serious accidents and, even worse, fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,308 lives in 2022 alone. Those who survive an accident with a distracted driver may suffer from broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, or internal bleeding. These injuries can lead to long-term physical pain, emotional trauma, and financial hardship due to medical expenses and lost wages.

Distracted drivers may be held liable in civil court for the damages they cause. Injured victims or the families of those killed in distracted driving accidents can file personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the at-fault driver. These lawsuits can result in substantial financial settlements or judgments, which can help victims and their families cope with the costs associated with the accident.

Preventing Distracted Driving

Preventing distracted driving requires a conscious effort from every driver. Here are some tips to help you stay focused on the road:

  • Put your phone away — Place your phone out of reach or use a blocking app to prevent notifications from taking your eyes off the road.
  • Plan Ahead — Input your destination into your GPS before starting your trip to avoid the need to adjust it while driving.
  • Pull over — If you need to make a call, send a text, or engage in any activity that takes your attention away from driving, find a safe place to pull over.
  • Speak up — If you are a passenger and notice the driver becoming distracted, don’t hesitate to speak up and offer to help.

Seeking Help After a Distracted Driving Accident

This Distracted Driving Month, let’s work together to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and take steps to prevent further accidents. By staying focused on the road and seeking help, we can create safer roads for everyone. 

If you or a loved one has been affected by a distracted driving accident, remember that Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman is here to help you during this difficult time and fight for the justice you deserve. Contact our offices today to schedule a confidential consultation.

About the Author
Jefferson D. Gilder is a Partner at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman and was admitted to the Mississippi and Tennessee Bars in 1990. Mr. Gilder is admitted to practice in all courts in Mississippi and Tennessee including Federal Court, the Fifth and Sixth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Gilder's areas of practice include personal injury, criminal, medical malpractice, civil rights, and product liability. Mr. Gilder spent his first ten years as an attorney practicing with his father, Robert G. Gilder, at Gilder Law Firm in Southaven, Mississippi before forming Gilder, Howell & Assoc., P.A. with Jamie W. Howell, Jr. in June of 2000. This firm although as another legal entity has now combined their resources and experience with Chatham – Pittman, to form Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman. If you have any questions about this article, you can reach Jefferson through our contact page.