It is common for people to link distracted driving only with using a cell phone when behind the wheel, but this is not the only time you may suffer from distractions while operating a vehicle.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that distracted driving may occur in three distinct ways. Distractions occur anytime you take your focus off the road and the task of driving.
Visual distractions are anything that makes you take your eyes off the road. It could be something as simple as turning down the radio when you have to glance to see where the knob is. It could be a billboard that grabs your attention. When driving, your eyes should always be on the road.
Manual distractions are things that take your hands off the steering wheel. Safe driving involves keeping both hands on the wheel at all times. This allows you the most control over your vehicle. Manual distractions can include changing the radio station or messing with the volume, taking a drink or touching another person in the vehicle.
Cognitive distractions are probably the most difficult to avoid. They include things that take your mind away from the task of driving. If you are someone whose mind is often on overload and you are always thinking about something, then cognitive distractions may be a challenge for you. Ideally, you want to focus only on operating your vehicle and assessing the road and other cars around you.
The bottom line is that anything that takes your attention away from the task of driving is a distraction that increases your risk of a collision. Increase your focus by putting your phone away, avoiding multitasking and adjusting your radio and climate control before your leave.