Despite numerous awareness campaigns and tragic reminders of the dangers of texting and driving, people insist on inviting distractions while on the road. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents in Texas and across the country. Texting while driving and other forms of distracted driving are responsible for nearly 3,000 fatalities on America’s roads. Protect yourself and your loved ones on our dangerous Texas roads by learning the common signs of distracted driving that will help you spot drivers not paying attention to the road.

Types of distracted driving

In order to know how to spot a driver whose attention is diverted from the task at hand, you need to understand that there are three types of distracted driving:

  1. Visual distractions: When a driver takes their eyes off the road to send or read a text message, consume food, apply makeup, talk to passengers, or engage in other activities that require the motorist to take their eyes off the roadway. 
  2. Manual distractions: When a driver takes their hands off the wheel to eat or drink, adjust the radio, smoke, reach for items in the vehicle, use a GPS device, etc. 
  3. Cognitive distractions: These are activities that take the driver’s mind off the driving task. This type of distraction happens when a driver diverts their attention and concentration to another mentally-demanding task such as daydreaming or talking on the phone. 


Notice how the act of texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it involves all three types of distractions: visual, manual, and cognitive. 

7 Common signs of distracted driving

Check mirrors and stay alert for signs of distracted driving such as hitting the brakes suddenly and frequently.
Check mirrors and stay alert for signs of distracted driving such as hitting the brakes suddenly and frequently.

Luckily, you can avoid a car accident, specifically a distracted driver accident, and keep yourself and your passengers safe if you know how to spot these seven tell-tales of a distracted motorist on the road. If you notice any of the following signs, it means the car near you could be operated by a distracted driver putting their, and your, life at risk: 

 If you see a driver who is consistently failing to obey road signs, it may be an indication that they are distracted.

If this occurs once, it may be innocuous. However, if you notice that a driver is repeatedly driving in and out of lanes, it could be because they are not paying attention to the road or are under the influence of alcohol.

A distracted driver is too engrossed in their secondary activities to follow the proper steps and protocol for safe lane transition.

The driver is distracted if they are looking down or holding a cell phone up to text someone or read something on their phone. Either way, the driver fails to keep their eyes on the roadway and is likely to cause an accident.

While many people think that eating or drinking while driving is harmless, it is still considered a “manual distraction” that could lead to a preventable car accident.

If you notice that a driver is speeding up and slowing down erratically, it’s probably because the motorist is too distracted to maintain a steady speed.

This one is the most tell-tale sign that a driver is not paying attention to the road ahead and can lead to rear-end accidents.

How to protect yourself against distracted drivers?

The majority of car crashes caused by distracted drivers are preventable. Follow these safety tips to protect yourself against distracted motorists on the road:

  1. Practice defensive driving, which involves habits such as keeping a safe distance between vehicles, checking side- and rear-view mirrors, anticipating the actions of other drivers on the road, and driving below the posted speed limit, among others.  
  2. Slow down or change lanes when you notice signs of distracted driving. Give these distracted drivers a wide berth. 
  3. Install a dash cam to collect solid visual evidence to prove that the other driver involved in your crash was distracted. 

When defensive driving fails, contact a Houston car accident lawyer

Though tactics such as defensive driving increase your protection on the road, nothing can completely eliminate the risk of car accidents on our dangerous Texas roads. In the event that you or a loved one suffers a car accident due to distracted driving, don’t hesitate to speak with our Houston car accident attorneys at Johnson Garcia LLP. Let our accident lawyers help you navigate the legal aspects of your injury claim and collect all the necessary evidence to help obtain full compensation for your damages. Call us at (832) 844-6700 for your free consultation.