California drivers like you understand that driver distraction is a deadly problem.  You also understand that distraction comes in many forms. It is an umbrella term that covers any action that distracts your attention.

But driver distraction often falls into three categories. Sometimes, an action may fall into many categories at once. But most distracted driving issues involve one or more.

Three types of driver distraction

The National Safety Council discusses three categories of driver distraction. They talk about it in during their discussion of hands-free technology. This tech supposedly helps drivers maintain their safety even when using handheld devices. Unfortunately, hands-free tech only addresses two of the three types of driver distractions.

So what are these three types? They include visual, cognitive and physical distractions. Visual distractions involve anything taking your eyes from the road. This is why “rubber-necking” is so dangerous, i.e. when you look at other accidents. You no longer pay attention to the road. This increases your risk of crashing.

Cognitive distraction hits drivers hardest

Cognitive distractions involve anything that takes your mind away from driving. It is the hardest form of distraction to overcome. It is also the only form of distraction that hands-free tech does not prevent. Cognitive distractions include talking to passengers or even adjusting your temperature.

Physical distractions involve taking your hands away from the wheel. This happens often with parents who drive with kids. It can also happen with people who drive with their pets in the car. Any time you remove your hand from the wheel, you lose some of your control over the car. This can put you at greater risk of a crash.