By: Ruben DavidoffAugust 1, 2022,
young woman sitting in the driver's seat of a car lost in thought

Distracted Driving Is Not Just About Cell Phones

The conversation surrounding distracted driving is often focused solely on not using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving; however, it can actually involve much more. There are many kinds of distractions that can impact someone’s ability to safely handle a vehicle. To better understand how pervasive the issue of distracted driving is, it’s important to know the three kinds of distractions and what may fall into these categories.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Distracted driving can involve any action or inaction that causes a disruption in your ability to drive safely. This is often broken down into three categories: Manual, Visual, and Cognitive.

  • Manual distractions are those that cause you to take one or more hands off the wheel.
  • Visual distractions take your eyes off the road.
  • Cognitive distractions take your attention away from the specific task.

It’s important to note that some actions may involve two or three of these categories, even if the driver is not fully aware. Because of this, all motorists should understand what may be included in these categories and how they can pose a threat.


Although many people drive as a way to clear their head or simply just let their mind wander on their work commute, spending time daydreaming behind the wheel can actually have some serious consequences. In 2019, data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) showed that this was one of the number one causes of fatal crashes—and yet this still is one of the most overlooked driving actions.

When daydreaming, motorists are so lost in thought that they may not notice changes in road patterns, cars merging or changing lanes, or pedestrians/cyclists on the road. This can cause a significant delay in reaction time and lead to more collisions.

Eating and Drinking

Every driver has pulled through a drive-thru restaurant at some point in their lives. For some people, this may be such a habit that they don’t even realize that eating and drinking can be taking their attention away from driving. According to one study, eating can impact a driver’s reaction time by 44% and 22% when drinking.

Eating and drinking while driving is a distraction that encapsulates all three categories. Whether you’re shuffling through a takeout bag, getting annoyed with crumbs falling into your lap, or spilling a cup of hot coffee, your driving safety can be impacted. For this reason, it’s always best to park at the restaurant or wait until you get home before eating.

Learn More: Eating While Driving Isn’t Dangerous – Is It?

Interacting with Passengers

For those with children or who carpool to work, interacting with passengers may seem like a standard practice when behind the wheel. However, it can actually be a significant distraction.

It’s not uncommon for people to turn around to the backseat and scold children or make direct eye contact with someone when conversing. Although this may only divert your attention and eye line for a few seconds, this can have similar effects as looking down at a cell phone, causing you to have delayed or erratic reactions to condition changes.

Learn More: “Backseat Drivers” May Cause More Crashes, Studies Show

Queen Car Accident Attorneys

When you’ve been involved in a collision with a distracted driver that left you injured, the last thing you want to worry about is whether you’ll be able to afford the necessary treatments. Our Queens car accident attorneys at Davidoff Law provide personal injury representation for individuals throughout New York and can help you pursue compensation. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today by calling (212) 900-0000.

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