There are numerous risks that drivers face every time they hit the road. Distractions make up a large portion of these dangers.
How does distraction tie to car crashes? Does a higher rate of distraction directly correlate to a higher level of crashes on the road?
Types of distraction
The NHTSA discusses how distracted driving can lead to dangerous situations on the road. First, it is important to understand the definition of distraction in the context of driving. Distraction can come in three primary forms: physical, mental and visual.
A physical distraction involves taking one’s hands away from the wheel, such as when picking up a dropped food item. Visual distractions involve taking one’s eyes away from the road, such as when looking at an accident on the other side. Mental distractions involve anything that takes a driver’s mind away from the task at hand.
Why they create risk
These distractions put a driver at risk because they simply cannot react to potential dangers around them when they are not engaged in optimal safe driving. For example, looking away from the road for just a second can result in a driver rear-ending the car in front of them because they did not realize said car had come to a sudden stop. Distractions serve as a particularly large danger in areas with high traffic density, but they can plague any driver at any point.
Needless to say, a driver faces countless distractions every time they get behind the wheel. Though a few seconds of distraction here and there may not seem like a big deal, it only takes a few seconds to get into a serious crash.