Distracted Driving: More than Phones - The S.E. Farris Law Firm
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Distracted Driving: More than Phones

Everybody thinks they can multitask, but that is a proven myth. What you’re actually doing is quickly switching your focus from one task to another. The most dangerous place for you to think you can multitask is behind the wheel of a car. It is considered distracted driving, and with the average weight of a car being 4,000 pounds or 2 tons, it can have traumatic outcomes. Distracted driving isn’t just putting you at risk, but others as well.

There are three different types of distracted driving, and they include:

  • Manual distractions – taking one or both hands off the wheel.
  • Visual distractions – taking your eyes off the road.
  • Cognitive distractions – when you’re not focused on driving.

Any type of distracted driving forces your mind to choose between driving and whatever else you’re trying to accomplish. It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, any of these can cause an accident.

  • Manual distractions include:
    • Eating or drinking.
    • Smoking.
    • Adjusting a child’s seatbelt.
    • Searching through a bag or purse.
    • Turning the knobs in your car.
    • Typing on your phone.
  • Visual distractions include:
    • Looking for items on the floor of your car.
    • Checking or adjusting your GPS.
    • Changing the radio station.
    • Adjusting temperature.
    • Taking in the view.
    • Applying makeup or personal grooming.
    • Looking at your phone.
  • Cognitive distractions include:
    • Talking to another passenger.
    • Thinking about something that is upsetting.
    • Road rage.
    • Daydreaming.
    • Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
    • Talking on the phone.


Some of these distractions can be attributed to more than one of the categories and increase the risk of getting into an accident. One of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving is cell phone use. It falls under all three of these categories and completely pulls your focus away from the road. Would you ever close your eyes for 5 seconds while driving? Definitely not. But sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off the road for an average of 5 seconds. At 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of a football field blindfolded.

Tips to Avoid Being Distracted

Obviously, there are a lot of different distractions that can pull your attention from driving, and some of them you do without realizing. However, there are preemptive measures you can take to help prevent being distracted.

Here are tips to keep you less distracted and safer:

  • Stay calm
    • Anxiety and stress can be distracting. Take deep breaths and focus on the road.
    • Don’t argue or get angry. Try to calm yourself down. Save the argument for when you’re not driving.
  • Pull over
    • If you can’t calm down or stay focused, pull over. Take a break and relax until you’re able to give driving your full attention.
  • Use your passengers
    • If someone is in the car with you, have them change the music or control the temperature.
  • Know your car
    • Know the car’s controls before you start driving – especially if the car is new to you.
  • Make adjustments before you start driving
    • Mirrors, seat, steering wheel, and seatbelts should all be adjusted before you start driving.
  • Be rested
    • If you’re going to be on the road for a while, be rested.
    • Drowsy driving is a known issue and can result in devastating accidents.
  • Set up your GPS before you start driving
    • Have a good idea of where the destination is, and if you have to readjust your GPS, pull over.
  • Stay off your phone
    • Put your phone away, and don’t use it until you’re out of the car.
    • If you need to use it, pull over.

If you or someone you love has been injured or a loved one has been killed in a distracted driving accident, contact The S.E. Farris Law Firm. With more than 30 years of experience, we can get you the compensation you deserve. Call us 24/7 at 314-A-LAWYER (314-252-9937), or send us a message to arrange a free consultation.