Distracted driving continues to be the leading cause of motor vehicle accidents in Tennessee. There are hundreds of distractions; however, they can all be classified into four main categories: cognitive, auditory, manual, and visual.
Cognitive distractions are subtle events that affect your mental driving ability. Their mode of action could be:
- Suppressing the brain activity in parts that are responsible for driving, for example, alcohol
- Filling up the working memory with a task that is not related to driving, thereby reducing the ability to process information about the surroundings while driving
- Overreaction to a stimulus that is not really there or is not as dangerous as it seems
- Decreased accuracy in predicting the behavior of other road users
Cognitive distractions cause most of the motor vehicle accidents that occur in the United States. In fact, research has shown that hands-free devices are not really safe for use while driving. The best way to avoid cognitive distractions is by keeping your mind focused on the task of driving and avoiding anything that could take your attention away from the road.
Auditory distractions are noises that can either come from inside or outside the vehicle. They can be:
- Conversations with passengers
- Honking horns
Such noises are a great distraction because they can startle you and cause you to take your focus off the road. They can also keep you from hearing what’s happening around or outside your car.
As their name suggests, these are things that take your eyes off the road. They could be:
- Your phone
It doesn’t take much for the eyes to wander when driving. And once you’ve registered it in your mind that you have to see something, you’ll also be inducing cognitive distraction.
Activities like eating and drinking, reaching for an object in the vehicle, and adjusting the radio or temperature controls can lead to accidents. You need to have full control of your vehicle at all times, and that means hands on the wheels and feet on the pedals.
When police officers spot you distracted in Tennessee, they can pull you over and arrest you or hand you a ticket. Furthermore, if you cause an accident, the court may hold you at fault and ask you to pay medical bills and property damages for all the victims in addition to punitive charges.