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Four Types of Driver Distractions

May 4, 2020


Distracted driving has been on the rise as new technologies continually emerge. Drivers are expected to maintain focus, visually, audibly, manually, and cognitively when on the road. As such, distractions of this nature can result in accidents.

Distractions could fall into any of these four categories:

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions cover any distraction that diverts the visual focus of the driver to something other than the road. Visual distractions might include:

  • Looking at a GPS to input new directions
  • Looking into the backseat to check up on the children
  • Looking in the mirror to fix your makeup
  • Looking down at a text message

Visual distractions can prevent drivers from viewing important obstacles in front of them. They can also affect the driver’s reaction time in the event a vehicle stops in front of them.

Auditory Distractions

Auditory distractions are people, or items, that diverts the driver’s hearing to something other than driving. Auditory distractions might include:

  • Turning the radio up too loud while driving
  • Listening to a friend tell a story on your cell phone
  • Listening to children fight loudly in the backseat
  • The distraction of a broken muffler

Auditory distractions can prevent the driver from hearing important road cues like an emergency vehicle or another vehicle alerting them they are getting too close with a horn. For this reason, many states have implemented laws regarding how loud the radio can be when driving or when mechanical parts on a vehicle need to be repaired.

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions encourage the driver to touch, or manipulate, something other than the steering wheel. Manual distractions might include:

  • Eating a meal while driving
  • Reaching over to get something out of the glovebox
  • Reaching into the backseat to grab something
  • Handing something to a child or person in the backseat

Manual distractions are troublesome because they slow down the driver’s reaction time. A driver who is doing something else will take longer to slow down if the vehicle in front of them slows down, or comes to a stop.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions include things that divert the driver’s focus and attention to something other than driving. Cognitive distractions might include:

  • Mentally preparing for an upcoming presentation
  • Thinking about items you need to complete on your to-do list
  • Calculating the cost of a recent purchase
  • Having a work talk while driving

Cognitive distractions can be just as dangerous as other types of distractions. While you might be looking and listening to the road, shifting your thoughts to something else can also affect your reaction time and your overall ability to follow the rules and laws of the road. Cognitive distractions can also worsen the risk of driving during inclement weather.

Understanding New Jerseys’ Distracted Driving Laws

The state of New Jersey has a statewide ban on using your phone while driving at all. It doesn’t matter if you are talking on your phone or texting, using your phone while driving in New Jersey is illegal. Drivers who are caught operating their phone while driving will face an expensive ticket and legal fines.

If you were injured in a car accident in which the other driver was distracted, you may be eligible for compensation. Reach out to a personal injury lawyer who is familiar with New Jersey’s distracted driving laws. Your lawyer will help you build your case and collect the documents you need to determine fault.

Contact a Rockaway Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Distracted Driving Case in New Jersey

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a distracted driver in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive New Jersey personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Hoyt & Hoyt PC represent clients injured because of distracted driving in Morris Township, Rockaway, Edison, Woodbridge, and throughout New Jersey. Call (973) 292-2299 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 67 East Park Place, 5th Floor, Morristown, NJ 07960, as well as an office in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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