When people think of distracted driving, the first thing that often comes to mind is texting while driving. Texting behind the wheel is illegal in Kentucky, but many drivers still feel confident enough that they can get away with it.

However, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) reported that distractions, like texting, led to over 50,000 traffic accidents in 2016 alone. Most people understand that there is a risk, but why is it so dangerous?

The three categories of distracted driving

In order to understand the risk of texting behind the wheel, it is necessary to look at the three different categories of distracted driving first. The three categories include:

  • Visual distractions: This includes anything that takes your eyes off of the road, such as looking at your phone or your GPS for directions.
  • Manual distractions: Any action that requires you to take your hands off of the wheel is a manual distraction. This could be as simple as changing the radio station or eating while driving.
  • Cognitive distractions: Even thinking about something other than driving is a distraction. This can include holding a conversation with other passengers, thinking about what happened earlier at work or what to make for dinner.

Anything that takes the eyes, hands or mind off of driving poses a danger to other motorists or pedestrians.

The real danger of texting while driving

The reason texting behind the wheel is so dangerous is that it combines all three of the distraction categories. Individuals must look down at their phone, take their hands off of the wheel and think of what they are going to say, all just to compose a text. 

Incidents of texting while driving seem to increase every day. Even though it is illegal, Kentucky police find it more difficult to enforce the law by the day.

It is always important to be aware of your surroundings while driving, but it is even more important to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving to avoid an accident.