What are Manual Distractions While Driving?

29 Jan 2019

Driving is a task that demands your full attention. Even if you’re an outstanding driver, you can’t be sure how your nearby drivers will drive. There’s no telling if they’ll maneuver through traffic in a safe and predictable manner or if they’ll follow all the rules of the road. Because of this, you should make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times and are prepared to take the necessary evasive action at any given moment.

There are three primary categories distracted driving falls under. These are manual, visual and cognitive distractions. We’ve talked about cognitive distractions already, and in this post, we’ll talk about manual distractions.

Manual distractions are those that cause you to take your hands off the wheel. They could slow your reaction time, causing you to swerve off the road to avoid an accident. No matter what you’re using your hands for, when driving, it’s considered a manual distraction.

Over 391,000 individuals in 2015 were injured by distracted drivers and 3,477 were killed, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The most common manual distraction is texting. Other dangerous distractions are:

  • Digging through your briefcase or purse
  • Reaching in the backseat for something
  • Eating and drinking
  • Smoking
  • Adjusting the navigation system or radio
  • Grooming yourself; and
  • Applying makeup
  • Using a cell phone

Individuals, including fleet drivers, often become manually distracted when sitting at a red light or stop sign. While there’s nothing wrong with reaching to grab something in the backseat at a red light, if you’re still reaching when the light turns green, it could pose a serious risk to yourself and other drivers.

When you’re driving, try to keep both hands on the steering wheel at all times, except of course, when you need to turn your signal on, shift the vehicle into another gear, or other driving tasks. Don’t eat and drink in the vehicle. If you must make a phone call, activate the hands-free device. Adjust the radio, navigation system or other gadgets before you start driving. If you absolutely must do something that will take your hands off the wheel, pull over first.

Becoming sidetracked when driving isn’t hard to do, but it could cost you your life even if you only take your eyes off the road for a few seconds. Ensuring our and other’s safety by avoiding manual distractions is important and should be something we strive for each time we get behind the wheel.

If you’re a fleet manager, discuss the possibility of manual distractions with your drivers. In addition, utilizing a GPS fleet tracking can help alert you to other driving hazards, like hard braking, aggressive driving and speeding.

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