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The three main types of distracted driving

Drivers on their cellphones are likely the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words, "distracted driving." Over the years, most states have integrated laws banning or limiting the use of cellphones while driving. In Kentucky, drivers over the age of 18 are permitted to talk on their phones and use GPS while operating a vehicle, but texting is strictly prohibited.

Using your cellphone might be the most recognized and one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving, but it's certainly not the only one. In fact, there are three main types of distracted driving, under which many other forms fall. These three types include visual, manual and cognitive.

How are these three main types of distraction defined?

Visual -- looking elsewhere/taking your eyes off the road

Manual --taking one or both hands of the steering wheel for any reason

Cognitive -- thinking of other things than what you're doing/not focused on driving

Common visual distractions

There are a number of visual distractions that may cause your eyes to stray from the road, some of the most common include:

  • Checking your phone
  • Setting your GPS
  • Applying makeup
  • Looking out the window
  • Searching for items in your car

Common manual distractions

Taking your hands off the wheel for any reason is considered a manual distraction, even the simple action of sipping on your morning coffee qualifies. Other manual distractions consist of:

  • Eating
  • Smoking
  • Adjusting the temperature
  • Searching through your purse
  • Rummaging through your car

Common cognitive distractions

Cognitive distractions happen any time your mind begins to wander or your focus is somewhere other than on the road. For instance:

  • Talking to passengers in your car
  • Engaging in road rage
  • Daydreaming
  • Driving under the influence

Which category does texting and driving fall under?

Texting and driving is particularly alarming because of the fact that it involves all three types of distractions.

Distracted driving takes a scary lead

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), the leading factor for most crashes is distracted driving. Approximately 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes are related to driver distraction.

Do your part! Keep the road safe by being mindful of distractions and not giving into temptation. Don't get behind the wheel if you're under the influence or feel otherwise distracted.

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