August 2011 Safety Tip

Distracted Driving


Distracted driving involves any activity a person engages in that has the potential to distract him or her from the primary task of driving and increase the risk of a crash. There are three main types of driving distraction:

Visual — taking your eyes off the road
Manual — taking your hands off the wheel
Cognitive — taking your mind off what you are doing

Distracted driving activities include:

  • Composing, sending or reading text messages
  • Dialing or talking on a cell phone
  • Changing the radio station, CD or MP3 player
  • Eating, drinking or smoking
  • Picking something up from the floor or between the seats
  • Writing or reading (including maps)
  • Shaving
  • Using a PDA or navigation system
  • Reaching for the glove compartment
  • Cleaning the inside of the windshield
  • Talking to passengers
  • Combing or brushing your hair.
  • Putting on makeup
  • Putting in contact lenses or using eye drops
  • Doing your nails
  • Watching a video

While all these distractions can endanger a driver's safety and that of others on the road, texting is the most dangerous because it involves all three types of distraction — visual, manual and cognitive.


Reduce driving distracted by adhering to the following basic suggestions:

Limit interaction with passengers — Limit talking while driving, keep your eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.

Avoid driver fatigue — Stay focused on the road and don't drive if you are tired .If necessary, share driving responsibilities on long trips.

Don't drive when angry or upset
— Emotions can interfere with safe driving. Wait until you have cooled down or resolved problems before getting behind the wheel of a car.

Avoid gawking
— Don't take your eyes off the road to look at a crash or other activity

If you need to use your cell phone — Pull off the road and stop in a safe place to use your phone.