Distracted driving has become an epidemic in Missouri and throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 1,000 people injured and nine killed each day in an accident involving a distracted driver. You can stay safe by recognizing the signs of a distracted driver and understanding the three types of distraction. 

The first type of distraction is visual. This is anything that requires you to take your eyes off the road. If you have children, you may be reaching back to adjust a seat belt or take your eyes off the road to find a toy. You could also be looking down at your phone or changing a radio station. When you are driving, your eyes should always be on the road. 

The second type of distracted driving is manual. This includes anything that requires you to take your hands off the wheel. Common reasons to do this include putting makeup on, handing items back to kids, fiddling with a navigation system or GPS or eating and drinking. When you are driving a vehicle, you should always have both hands on the wheel. 

The final type of distracted driving is cognitive. This refers to anything that takes your focus and mind off driving. Even an intense phone call or discussion with passengers can lead to cognitive distraction. If you have heavy things on your mind, shut them down until you can give them your entire focus. Driving requires all your attention and if you are emotionally invested in something different, your cognitive focus is not in the right place. 

As deaths from distracted driving increase, it is important that every driver pay closer attention to the things that distract them when driving. Tragic illness and death can be avoided in very simple ways. 

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.