When was the last time you looked at your cell phone? Maybe it was just a few moments ago, or maybe you are even reading this on your phone. It can be hard to resist the draw of glancing at your screen, but you know how important it is to keep your eyes focused on the road while driving. Unfortunately, other drivers do not take distracted driving as seriously as you do.

You probably associate distracted driving with smart phones, and that is for a very good reason — they are everywhere! Mobile devices in general are some of the most noticeable problems when it comes to distracted driving. However, you may not realize that distracted driving has been around for a lot longer than cell phones.

The 3 types of distractions

At its most basic, a distracted driver is someone who is not giving his or her full attention to the task at hand. Distracted driving also breaks down into three different types, all of which can appear differently to outside observers. These distractions are:

  • Manual
  • Visual
  • Cognitive

Manual distractions have to do with physically removing one’s hands from the wheel, like when manipulating a phone or reaching for an item. A driver is visually distracted when he or she looks somewhere other than the road, like at children sitting in the back or a text message alert. These two types of distractions can be fairly easy to identify. It is harder to spot a cognitively distracted driver, as he or she might have hands on the wheel and eyes on the road but might be thinking about something else altogether.

What’s distracting everyone?

The American Automobile Association reports that 31% of drivers admit that their pets distract them while driving. Only 17% of the 80% of pet owners who admit to driving with their pets on a regular basis also use pet safety restraints. But, of course, furry-legged friends are far from the only source of distraction. According to a 2020 study from The Zebra, pets do not even rank among the top 10 distractions. The top 10 distractions are:

  • Daydreaming
  • Cell phones
  • Looking outside the car (not at the road)
  • Passengers
  • Devices other than cell phones
  • Eating and drinking
  • Changing the A/C or radio
  • Cruise control or other vehicle function
  • Handling objects
  • Smoking

Daydreaming — or losing oneself in thought — is a cognitive distraction, so that means it is really hard to spot. Since it is the most common type of distracted driving behavior, it is possible that you share the road with daydreaming drivers almost every day. It is not totally clear how many drivers lost in thought cause accidents, but the second most common distracted driving behavior — cell phone use — contributes to at least 26% of all crashes.

Does your phone model matter?

The likelihood of someone being a distracted driver could come down to what type of phone he or she uses. According to a survey from The Zebra, over 70% of participants with Apple phones admit that they video chat while driving. Only around 24% of drivers with Google operating systems reported the same.

Distracted driving frequently causes serious and life-altering injuries. Unfortunately, you know that all too well now. You also know how essential it is that you get the right help. Pursuing a personal injury claim is usually an effective way of getting that help because, with the right guidance, you can successfully pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and more.