Why is texting the most dangerous form of distracted driving?

Whether driving or being a passenger, the chances are likely that you have ridden with a distracted driver or drove distracted yourself. Distracted driving is frighteningly common and results in thousands of injuries or deaths each year in Florida and across the country.

You may not even have to knowingly drive while distracted. A crying baby in the backseat, a spilled drink or an accident by the side of the road might catch your attention for just long enough to cause an accident. However, there is one form of distraction that requires a choice on your part, and which you should definitely choose not to participate in – texting and driving.

It is important to understand the three types of driving distractions. They include the following:

  • Cognitive – This is a form of distraction that takes your mind off the road. Daydreaming, talking to passengers or yelling at other drivers are all forms of cognitive distraction.
  • Visual – Visual distractions take your eyes off the road. They can include turning to look at passengers while talking, gazing at scenery or your attention being caught by something near the roadside.
  • Manual – Manual distractions involve taking your hands off the wheel or your feet off the pedals. Eating while struggling to maneuver the steering wheel is a classic example of a manual distraction.

Texting while driving is serious because all three types of distractions come into play. When you use your phone to read or compose a text, you take your eyes off the road, one or both hands leave the wheel and your mind focuses on the act of reading and sending a text rather than concentrating on the task of driving.

The advice regarding texting and driving is simple and straightforward: Do not do it. If you must read or send a text or email, wait until you reach your destination or pull over before picking up your phone. By making smart decisions regarding distracted driving, you may save lives, including your own.

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