If you want to increase your awareness of road safety, you can begin by understanding some common causes of serious collisions. Concerns about the phenomenon of driver distraction continue to grow as the number of resulting collisions climbs. Knowing the basic types of distraction can help you avoid this behavior yourself and stay away from distracted drivers in other vehicles.

Mental Focus

When a driver is mentally distracted, his or her mind is far away from the road. Instead, the driver is completely focused on something else. The source of distraction can be an argument inside the car or a stressful phone conversation. Tired drivers can also have a harder time stopping their minds from drifting.

Avoiding distraction

Good planning can help you keep distraction at bay. Before you leave, think about the most likely sources of distraction during the journey ahead. If you are traveling with children, packing individual snacks and entertainment kept within each child’s reach can cut down on squabbling. Put your cell phone away. If you need it for navigation, turn off notifications for all other applications to avoid distractions from incoming texts or calls.

Physical distraction

Physical distractions can also stop you from reacting at a crucial moment. Eating, applying makeup and reaching for fallen objects are some of the most common distractions that often end badly. When drivers engage in these behaviors, they typically have at least one hand off the wheel; they also often fail to look at the road.

Texting is especially dangerous, as it combines both physical and mental aspects. For this reason, most states have banned texting behind the wheel and launched informational campaigns about the dangers of this activity.

On the road, a split second can make the difference between avoiding an collision and slamming into it head first. Drivers must react quickly and use good judgment when responding to changing road and weather conditions. Distraction slows response time and compromises both mental judgment and physical coordination.

Staying safe

Although you can maximize your own driving safety by eliminating distractions for yourself, you cannot do the same for every other driver on the road. Therefore, an important part of staying safe is watching for signs of distraction by other motorists.

You should be aware that drivers of big trucks can be especially vulnerable to distractions due to the long hours they spend on the road. If you see a truck or other vehicle slowing and speeding up erratically, making overly sharp turns or drifting out of its lane, try to distance yourself as soon you can. Unfortunately, you may still end up the victim of a truck collision. The right lawyer can help you pursue legal options and get access to the resources you need to get back on your feet.