When a driver splits their attention away from the road to focus on another task, they are driving while distracted.
There are three main categories of distracted driving. Cognitive distractions pull a driver’s mental focus from the road, physical distractions take a driver’s hands off the wheel and visual distractions pull a driver’s eyes from the road. There are signs you can look for to identify distracted drivers on the road so you can steer clear of them.
If you notice another vehicle on the road slowing down and then speeding up again repeatedly, they are likely distracted by something else. Failing to maintain a consistent speed is a common sign of distracted driving as the driver loses focus, then realizes they are going too fast or slow and corrects their speed, only to repeat the process.
Moving around in the car
It is not uncommon to need to quickly reach for something in your car while driving. However, if you notice a driver who is reaching so far that their torso is no longer behind the wheel, or bent over reaching for the floor, the road is no longer in their view.
Eating and drinking
Eating and drinking while driving is a common occurrence, but it pulls the focus of the driver mentally and physically away from driving.
Distracted driving leads to car accidents that cause severe injuries and death far too often. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that distracted drivers killed 3,142 people in 2020.