Distracted driving is when the driver is focused on something other than driving. The causes of distracted driving can be both external and internal. While distracted driving has been an issue since the invention of the automobile, it has gotten significantly worse in recent years. In large part, this is due to the ubiquity of modern technology.

However, we aren’t the only ones distracted by our gadgets while driving. As a matter of fact, there are numerous entities that can cause us to become distracted while driving, all of which can be categorized into three categories: visual, cognitive, and manual distractions.

Here, we’ll cover a wide range of distractions while driving. Let’s get started.

Distracted Driving – What Is It?

Distracted driving is a term that refers to any circumstance in which a person is engaged in another activity while driving a motor vehicle on the road. There are a number of distractions that can occur while driving, including using a cell phone, singing, and staring at the road.

New drivers who have seen their parents driving this way are 2-4 times more likely to pick up the habit themselves, even if they have passed their driving test. The most dangerous form of distracted driving is texting because it involves all three forms of distraction; visual, cognitive and manual abilities.

Distracted Driving Types

It is possible to become distracted while driving in a variety of ways. Each type of distraction can be classified into one of three groups. A visual, cognitive, and manual distractions are the top three subcategories to consider.


Visual distractions are just what they sound like: visual stimuli that draw your attention away from the road and cause you to lose concentration. These distractions are common and at times, unavoidable – such as looking at another passenger, changing the song, or looking around the car.

Maybe you’re even using your GPS to figure out where you are. Distracted driving does not always involve the driver putting their hands on the wheel. It is a visual distraction as long as your eyes are not on the road.


These are distractions that require the driver to remove their hands from the wheel. In addition to being caused by objects, distractions can also be caused by a general disregard for one’s surroundings while driving. When it comes to driving, for example, many people only use one hand to control the wheel, believing that their other hand is unnecessary.

However, the most common manual distractions include texting, talking on the phone, eating, drinking, looking for items in the car, and faffing with the radio. No matter where you are driving, you are almost certain to come across someone who is engaging in one of these behaviors while behind the wheel of a car. Remember to avoid eating and drinking in the car, adjust all dials, playlists and so forth before you set off, and if you have to make a call, activate hands-free.


Distractions that occur in the mind are known as cognitive distractions. They may not be considered distractions in the same way that visual and manual distractions are, but they can be just as dangerous.

Daydreaming while driving is a common example of distracted driving. During long road trips, this is a common occurrence. It’s usually triggered by boredom, but it can also lead to serious consequences. It’s difficult to keep your mind on your child’s requests and your upcoming day at work and a party you’re taking your child to on Saturday and what’s going on with that car who pulled out in front of you and took it all in.

Road rage is another common form of cognitive distraction. Irrespective of whether you’re driving dangerously or not, being in a bad mood can do a lot to divert your attention away from the road ahead of you. The term “cognitive distraction” refers to anything that diverts your attention away from the road.

How to Avoid Distractions

Nobody wants to cause a road traffic accident, so here are some tips on how to avoid distractions:

  • Never drive tired, it’s easy to become distracted or even drop off to sleep
  • Entertain your children in the car with activities
  • Keep your eyes on the road at all times
  • Keep your hands on the wheel at all times
  • Stop regularly for refreshment breaks
  • Give yourself time to get where you need to be
  • Avoid arguments or confrontation in the car
  • Turn music down or off if you find it distracting
  • Put your phone out of reach or on hands free mode.

Champions Driving School is authorized facility for adult defensive driving and driver’s education for teens. We extensively teach defensive driving tactics and strategies to keep all of our drivers safe on the road. Ready to schedule defensive driving? We offer private in-car driving lessons and our instructors are experienced in teaching all driver levels. We also teach all different types of driving situations; freeway driving, country roads, parking lots, residential, parallel parking… whatever you need to learn, we will teach you!