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What can be considered distracted driving?

According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, over 100 deaths on Maryland roads were attributed to distracted driving in 2015 along with more than 16,000 injuries. Chances are, the average citizen has engaged in some form of distracted driving over their driving career.

So, what exactly constitutes distracted driving? The first is a visual distraction. This means you have taken your eyes off the road. This may occur when looking at a phone or at other passengers. Even glancing away for a mere couple of seconds can mean you have driven 50 or more yards without looking at where you are going.

An auditory distraction is hearing or listening to something while driving that is not actually related to driving. For instance, listening to music or even someone else's conversation or argument can become a distraction.

A manual distraction occurs when your attention is placed towards manipulating any item that does not have anything to do with your vehicle or driving. This could include dialing a number, texting and driving, fiddling with the radio or even taking off a jacket.

Cognitive distraction includes driving while your mind is somewhere else. For instance, thinking about a conversation you had earlier or trying to figure out a problem that is non-driving related could fall under this category. If you are highly emotive while behind the wheel for any reason, it could lead to cognitive distraction. Engaging in a phone conversation could become a cognitive distraction as well as auditory.

Avoid using your phone at all while driving and consider muting it to avoid alerts that can be distracting or tempt you. Refrain from eating, drinking, applying makeup or any other activity that can take your focus off the wheel and lead you to become a distracted driver.

This post should only be viewed as an education tool and should not be used in lieu of professional legal counsel.

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