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What Are the Most Common Types of Distractions While Driving?

Every time you get behind the wheel, you’re taking on a great responsibility—not just for your safety, but for the safety of everyone on the road. Unfortunately, not all drivers take this responsibility seriously. Distractions while driving have become an epidemic, leading to an alarming number of car accidents each year. Distracted driving is now one of the leading causes of accidents on the road today.

Every year, thousands of car accidents occur due to distracted driving. Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts attention from the task of driving and increases the risk of an accident. With the increasing use of smartphones and other electronic devices, distractions on the road have become more prevalent than ever before. As a car accident victim, it helps to understand the most common types of distractions that can potentially lead to an accident. This can help you understand liability for your injuries.

If you have been in a car accident due to someone else’s distraction, seeking legal help is critical to your overall recovery and future. Retaining a qualified Denver car accident lawyer can significantly affect your case and the financial support you have as you move forward.

The Impact of Distracted Driving

What Are the Most Common Types of Distractions While DrivingDistracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a driver’s attention away from the road. These distractions can significantly impair a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle, putting themselves and others at risk. The consequences of distracted driving can be devastating, causing property damage, injuries, and even fatalities.

The True Scale of the Problem

Distracted driving is more prevalent than you might think. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claims the lives of over 3,100 individuals in a single year alone. Furthermore, an estimated 424,000 people suffer an injury in accidents involving distracted drivers every year. These numbers serve as a stark reminder of the urgent need to address this critical issue.

Types of Distractions Behind the Wheel

Distracted driving is a serious issue that poses a significant threat to both drivers and pedestrians. When drivers are not fully focused on the road, their ability to react quickly and make safe decisions is compromised, increasing the risk of accidents. Distractions while driving can lead to devastating consequences, including severe injuries and even loss of life.

Distractions while driving can be classified into three main categories:

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions occur when the driver takes their eyes off the road. It can include reading a text message, checking social media notifications on their phone, admiring the scenery, or even looking at themselves in the rearview mirror. Even a second of taking your eyes off the road can have serious consequences.

Manual Distractions

Manual Distractions
Manual distractions involve the driver removing their hands from the steering wheel. It can include eating, drinking, adjusting the radio or climate controls, applying makeup, or reaching for objects within the vehicle. When a driver’s hands are not on the wheel, they have less control over the vehicle, increasing the risk of an accident.

Cognitive Distractions

Cognitive distractions occur when the driver’s mind is not entirely focused on driving. It can include daydreaming, engaging in deep conversations with passengers, or being preoccupied with personal or work-related issues. These distractions can impair the driver’s ability to react quickly and make sound decisions on the road.

Other distractions behind the wheel may include:

Auditory Distractions

Auditory DistractionsAuditory distractions are distractions related to sound that can disrupt a driver’s concentration. Loud music playing in the car can be distracting, as it hinders the driver’s ability to hear important sounds, such as sirens or horns. Conversations inside the vehicle can also be distracting, especially if they involve intense or emotional discussions. Furthermore, smartphone audio messages or notifications can cause drivers to shift their attention away from the road.

Emotional Distractions

Emotional distractions are distractions that arise from intense feelings or emotional distress. Emotions such as anger, grief, or overwhelming joy can impair a driver’s ability to focus on the road. These distractions can lead to impulsive or reckless behavior, increasing the likelihood of an accident. Drivers must manage their emotions and find healthy coping mechanisms to ensure safe driving.

External Distractions

External distractions originate from sources outside of the vehicle and can divert a driver’s attention from the road. External distractions include other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists, especially in busy traffic. Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow, can be distracting as they require the driver to adapt their driving behavior. Roadside attractions, such as accidents, construction zones, or scenic views, can catch a driver’s attention and cause them to lose focus on driving safely.

Common Examples of Distractions While Driving

Now that we understand the different types of distractions, let’s explore some of the most common examples drivers face on the road today:

Cell Phone Usage

Cell phones have become an essential part of our daily lives. Still, they are also a significant source of distraction while driving. Whether texting, making calls, or using apps, using a cell phone diverts the driver’s attention from the road. Texting while driving is especially dangerous as it combines all three types of distractions mentioned above.

Other Electronic Devices

While cell phones top the list, other electronic devices can also cause distractions. It includes GPS systems, tablets, MP3 players, and portable DVD players. Drivers often try to multitask by using these devices while operating a vehicle, which poses a severe risk to everyone on the road.

Eating and Drinking

Fast-food drive-thrus and busy schedules have made eating and drinking while driving common. However, attempting to consume food or beverages behind the wheel increases the risk of spills, choking hazards, and loss of focus on the road ahead.

Conversations with Passengers

While engaging in conversations with passengers can provide entertainment and companionship during a long drive, it can also be a distraction. Emotional or heated conversations have the potential to take a driver’s focus away from the road, compromising their safety.

Grooming and Personal Care

It’s common to see drivers wearing makeup or fixing their hair in the rearview mirror. However, these grooming activities can significantly impact a driver’s ability to concentrate on the road and react swiftly to unexpected situations.


Rubbernecking refers to the act of drivers turning their heads to get a better look at an accident, construction site, or any other event happening on the side of the road. While curiosity is a natural human instinct, it should never take precedence over the task of driving safely.

The Legal Ramifications of Distracted Driving Accidents

Texting while driving is against the law in all but one state, and most states now have bans against handheld devices. However, when a driver texts or talks on the phone and causes a crash, they can face much more than a traffic citation for violating distracted driving laws.

While every case is different, here are some common legal issues that might arise when a distracted driver causes a crash:

  • Negligence: Distracted driving can be a form of negligence on the driver’s part when they cause harm to others. Establishing negligence is necessary to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
  • Personal Injury: If you have suffered injuries due to the accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.
  • Property Damage: In addition to personal injuries, distracted driving accidents often result in significant property damage. Seeking compensation for repairs or total vehicle replacement is crucial to getting your life back on track.

Types of Car Accidents Due to Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a severe problem that can lead to devastating car accidents. When drivers are not entirely focused on the road, their ability to react quickly and make proper decisions is compromised. As a result, they are more likely to be involved in accidents that can result in severe injuries or even fatalities. This section will discuss some of the most common types of car accidents caused by distracted driving.

Rear End Collisions

One of the most common types of car accidents caused by distracted driving is rear-end collisions. When drivers are distracted, they may not notice that the vehicle in front of them has stopped or slowed down, leading to a rear-end collision. It can happen when the driver texts, talks on the phone, or even daydreams. Rear-end collisions can cause significant damage to both vehicles involved and can result in serious injuries, such as whiplash or head trauma.

T-Bone Accidents

Another common type of accident caused by distracted driving is side-impact collisions, also known as T-bone collisions. These accidents occur when one vehicle crashes into the side of another vehicle, forming a “T” shape. Distracted drivers may fail to yield or stop at intersections, causing them to collide with another vehicle that has the right of way. Side-impact collisions can be hazardous, as the sides of vehicles offer less protection compared to the front and rear. It can lead to severe injuries, such as broken bones or internal organ damage.

Pedestrian or Bicycle Accidents

Distracted driving can also lead to accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. When drivers are not paying attention to the road, they may not notice pedestrians crossing the street or cyclists sharing the road with them. It can result in tragic accidents where vulnerable road users are struck by vehicles. These accidents can lead to life-altering injuries, including spinal cord injuries (SCI) or traumatic brain injuries.

If you have been in a car accident due to a distracted driver, seek legal representation from an experienced car accident attorney. An attorney can help you navigate the legal process, gather evidence to support your claim, and fight for the compensation you deserve. By working with an attorney, you can focus on recovering from your injuries while knowing your legal rights are being protected.

Distracted driving can lead to various types of car accidents, including rear-end collisions, side-impact collisions, and accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists. Consult a knowledgeable car accident attorney to protect your rights and receive the compensation you deserve.

Why Retain a Distracted Driving Car Accident Lawyer?

Pursuing compensation for your injuries and damages within the legal system can be overwhelming, especially when dealing with the aftermath of a car accident caused by a distracted driver. Here are some reasons why you should seek the assistance of a qualified attorney:

Experience and Knowledge

A car accident attorney knows this area of law and has the necessary experience and knowledge to handle your case effectively. They understand the complexity of distracted driving cases and can handle the legal process on your behalf while you focus on recovery.

Investigation and Gathering Evidence

Proving that the other driver was distracted requires a comprehensive investigation and evidence collection. An attorney has the resources and connections to conduct a thorough investigation, including obtaining witness statements, analyzing accident reports, and leveraging forensic experts.

Negotiation with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies are notorious for offering low settlements to accident victims. Having a skilled attorney by your side ensures that you have someone who can negotiate with these companies on your behalf. They will fight for your rights and work to secure the maximum compensation you deserve.

Litigation Representation

If an amicable settlement cannot be reached, your attorney is prepared to litigate your case. They will represent you in court, presenting compelling arguments and advocating for your best interests. With their legal skills, they can build a strong case and increase your chances of a favorable outcome.

Did A Distracted Driver Recently Injure you? Seek an Experienced Car Accident Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has been in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, take action right away. Schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable and dedicated car accident lawyer today. They understand the complexities of distracted driving cases. They are committed to fighting for your rights and securing the compensation you deserve. Don’t face the legal process alone—let a personal injury attorney guide you through this challenging time and help you rebuild your life.

Lauren Varner, Personal Injury Attorney

Lauren is a Personal Injury Attorney. She is Colorado native who became involved with the field of personal injury long before she became an attorney. Lauren’s professional philosophy centers around good old fashioned hard work, producing quality work product, and treating others professionally, with dignity and respect at all times.

Awards and as featured on

National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40 Included in TOP 40 Under 40 by The National TRIAL Lawyers in Centennial CO Varner Faddis Top Lawyers Denver Badge – 5280 Magazine American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys 10 Best Attorney Top 40 Under 40 5280 Denver Top Lawyers