You might know the route to work or your child’s school like the back of your hand. But you still shouldn’t take short or familiar drives shouldn’t without dedicating all your attention to driving.

If you find that you are comfortable cruising while balancing an array of activities behind the wheel, then it’s important to evaluate the position this puts you, your passengers and fellow motorists in. Put simply, distractions can be deathly, so it’s essential to do all you can to eliminate them.

What does distracted driving look like?

Essentially, there are three types of distractions — visual, manual and cognitive. And they can take place both within your car and outside of your window.

Here are some common examples of each type of distraction:

  • Visual: Sometimes drivers look at their phone, directions, passengers, billboards or accident scenes. These are all visual distractions because they demand the use of a driver’s eyes. And they are all dangerous because looking at something other than the road may cause you to lose sight of traffic or traffic signals and, in turn, create a collision.
  • Manual: Any type of action a driver takes that requires them to remove their hands from the steering wheel is a manual distraction. Some examples include eating, grooming, texting, making music selections or clicking other buttons in your car.
  • Cognitive: Cognitive distractions often connect to visual and manual ones. This is because a cognitive distraction involves thinking deeply about topics unrelated to the traffic outside your car windows, upcoming road signs and lights or GPS commands. For example, if you reach to grab something from the back seat, then your mind becomes dedicated to completing that task. There are also cognitive distractions that have nothing to do with other distractions, like daydreaming.

Since there is so much that can happen on the road and within your vehicle, it’s crucial that you make conscious decisions to not multitask while driving.

What if distractions are uncontrollable?

Maybe keeping your head clear, hands on the wheel and eyes on the road isn’t doable for you. In these circumstances, it’ll be safer for you and those around you to take public transportation or have someone else drive you. But if you or your family have been in an accident with a distracted driver, then there may be compensation available.