Nowadays, Americans are facing increasingly busy schedules, and if you are like most people, you may find yourself trying to multitask throughout the day to get everything done. Multitasking behind the wheel, however, is never a good idea, because anything that takes your attention away from the immediate task at hand for even a moment has the potential to cause a serious, and even deadly, accident. With so many distractions coming from all directions, there comes a need to differentiate between the various types. Here is a closer look at the three types of driver distraction.

1. Visual distractions

Visual distractions, as you may assume, are those that take your eyes away from the road while you are driving. Maybe you think you know the person in the vehicle next to you, or perhaps you drop your coffee and look down at the floor to assess the damage. When it comes to driving safely, reaction time matters, and looking away from the road, even for a second, can impact it and prove dangerous or even deadly.

2. Manual distractions

You may have heard the old adage about placing your hands at “ten and two” on the steering wheel to maximize safety and maintain control. Anything that takes your hands away from your vehicle’s controls can be considered a manual distraction, and any such distraction can lead to catastrophic injury, or worse. Reaching for a ringing phone is one example of a manual distraction; brushing your hair or teeth while driving is another.

3. Cognitive distractions

A cognitive distraction is one that occurs when your mind is anywhere other than on safely operating your vehicle. Maybe you were recently laid off from a job and are feeling anguished about how to make ends meet, or maybe you are coming home from a loved one’s funeral and find yourself overcome with emotion and unable to concentrate. The point is, driving a car requires your complete concentration, and if you are feeling out of sorts or distracted, it is time to find another driver or way of getting around.

It is important to note that some behaviors, such as texting behind the wheel, involve all three types of driver distraction. Whether used in conjunction with one another or on their own, distracted driving behaviors pose a serious safety risk to yourself, your passengers and everyone else on the road.

Everyone has an obligation to drive safely. If you were in an accident because someone else was driving distracted, consider scheduling a consultation with an attorney.