June is National Safety Month

What are you doing during National Safety Month to make sure your Business is as Safe as possible?

Every year National Safety Month is recognized during the month of June and according to the National Safety Council, ‘National Safety Month focuses on reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and in our homes and communities’. Safety should be at the top of the priority list for any successful business. Not focusing on safety is a very short-sided way to run a business. Businesses with an extra emphasis on safety tend to experience less frequent and less severe injuries to their employees. This leads to less lost time by injured employees, less insurance claims reported by the business, and lower insurance premiums as a result of the safe environment.

June is National Safety Month

Why is safety important?

Having a safety workplace can help your business in many ways. First and foremost it is the right thing to do for your organization, your customers, and your employees. If you operate a safe business it will save your business time and money by not having to deal with injured employees as frequently. It also will save your business when purchasing commercial insurance. Safe workplaces typically have a better experience modification rating than other businesses who do not emphasize safety.

How does a business design a safety program?

The design stage of a safety program will depend upon the location of your business and the industry you operate in. Obviously, if your business operates in Florida there is not much of a need for you to train employees how to operate in the snow. If you are located in Iowa, you may not need to prepare for hurricane season. The same can be said for the industry you operate in. A construction company will not need the same protocols in place as an accounting firm. Because of the uniqueness of each individual business, it is important to consult with your key employees, advisers, and even your insurance agent. All of these people can bring their own experiences to the design of any safety program and make it more complete.

June is National Safety Month and in honor of this celebration of safety this is an infograph about slips trips falls-

What should be included in all safety plans?

Heavy lifting

Any employee who has to lift heavy objects should be prepared to lift with their legs and not with their back. Many employees want to show a can-do attitude, but it is important to let all employees know that safety and their health are more important than impressing anyone with brute strength.

Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common insurance claim. Especially for retail and restaurant businesses that are open to the public. Even if your business is not open to the public, it is important to prevent employees and any third parties who come on to the property to be prepared for slips, trips, and falls.

Ergonomics of the workplace

Most businesses operate in the technological age. Because of this fact, many employees spend a majority of their time sitting at a desk and typing or staring at a computer. Repetition injuries like carpal tunnel can be severe and so can eyesight damage from long-term  damage from computer usage. Being mindful of the ergonomics of the chair a person is sitting in, the equipment surrounding their computer, and the light that is being emulated from the computers can do a lot to prevent long-term damage due to ergonomics within your staff.

Tips for implementing a safety program.

Once you have designed a safety program, it is equally important to effectively implement it. This must start from the top of your organization. The more involved the owner and key employees are in the implementation of a safety program, the more likely all employees will take it seriously. There should be a schedule for ongoing meetings and they should be documented. These meetings do not have to be extremely time-consuming. Typically 15-30 minutes a week is adequate. It is important to periodically request feedback from all employees and to have some sort of open door policy for employees who may not feel comfortable speaking up in front of their coworkers. No matter what implementation you find is right for your business, it is important to document it and to stick with it. Documentation will come in handy when or if you experience an injured employee. Your insurance agent will be able to use the safety program as a way to show the insurance carrier you are taking the proper steps to prevent this occurrence from becoming a regular part of your business.

 

Portrait of young engineer taking notes for National Safety Month.

Common Types of injuries

Fatigue

Fatigue is an enormous problem in today’s business climate. Especially for businesses that operate in an have employees doing physical work. Adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each day to reach peak performance, but nearly one-third report averaging less than six hours.

Driving

IF you have employees who drive to multiple locations throughout the work day as part of their normal duties, you need to train those employees how to drive when they are on the job. It is a good idea to pull their motor vehicle records on a yearly basis as well. Never assume a responsible employee is also a responsible driver.

Workplace Violence

Unfortunately, workplace violence is more common than most business owners think. Each year more than two million people report being a victim of workplace violence. For this reason, it is extremely important for you as a small business owner to come up with a plan to prevent and how to deal with any and all forms of workplace violence.

Slips, trips, and falls

Slips, trips, and falls are the most common form of insurance claim. Especially for businesses that are open to the public like a restaurant. Fortunately for these types of businesses, these claims are also typically not very severe, just frequent. No matter what type of industry your business operates in, it is worth your while to address slips, trips, and falls that may happen at your facility.

Drugs in the workplace

According to the Surgeon General, nearly 21 million Americans live with a substance use problem.  The same study showed three-quarters of these people are employed and as a result of their addiction, they miss 50% more time than employees without a substance abuse disorder. Construction, entertainment, recreation, and food service are four industries that have twice the national average of drug abuse in the workplace. If your business operates in one of these areas, drug abuse in the workplace is something you should address with your staff.

 

Hurricane Season is Upon Us!

Is your home and office prepared for Hurricane Season?

Hurricane season is upon us in the United States. As of June 12th, Hurricane Bud is already the second named storm of the season. Bud is expected to make landfall near the Baja Peninsula of Mexico this coming Thursday through the weekend. Hurricane Aletta, the first named storm of 2018, grew to a category four storm and consisted of sustained winds in excess of 140 miles per hour. This is occurring little more than eight months after Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Maria, category four and category five storms respectively, made landfall over Houston and Puerto Rico. Forcing many to go without power for weeks and months.

These Hurricanes should be a cautionary tale that if you live in an area that has a risk of hurricanes now is the time to plan for how you will deal with these storms when they come your way.  In most places, it is a matter of when and not if you are going to deal with a hurricane. Here are seven ways to prepare your home and small business for hurricane season.

Flooded Las Olas Blvd and Palm trees blowing in the winds, catastrophic hurricane Irma.

Create a communication plan

Communication is difficult in the technological age. It is even more difficult when a natural disaster occurs. For this reason, it is extremely important to have a plan in place for how your are going to get a message to the few people who are most important.  On a day to day basis, we may not realize how much we depend upon our mobile devices, but the second those devices are taken away we all realize how important they are to our ever connected world. Having a plan in place for when they do not work and practicing it from time to time will help your family and small business prepare for a hurricane or other natural disaster.

Restock your emergency preparedness kit

First and foremost, your house and your business should have an emergency preparedness kit. What it has in it may depend upon where you live and what special needs the people who need to use it may have. If someone in your family or at your business are diabetic, there should be some supplies related to these health issues. If you have a young child or an elderly member of your family, you need to prepare for their special needs. Regardless of the circumstances your business and family face, there should be a place where you have some supplies for when a hurricane occurs.

Check insurance coverage

Most Hurricane insurance policies have a time period before they kick in. Most are at least 30 days in length, meaning if you are purchasing coverage now you may be late for a hurricane occurring in late June or early July. If you already have coverage in place it is a good idea to dust off that policy and see what may or may not be covered. Partnering with an experienced independent insurance can help you determine what coverage you have and if there is additional coverage you may benefit from.

Consider flood insurance

In many cases flood insurance is necessary in addition to hurricane coverage. Each policy has limitations to what is and what is not covered. In most cases, flooding that occurs after a hurricane has occurred is not covered unless you have a separate flood insurance policy. Most small businesses can eliminate this gap in coverage by purchasing a business owner’s package. In a state where natural disasters are common, this should be a standard part of most comprehensive packages.

Make copies of important documents

There are many documents that are extremely important after a natural disaster occurs. These documents may include passports, birth certificate, social security card, the title to your car or house, bank account records, copies of your insurance policies, and the phone numbers related to any of these documents.

Back up your electronics

If you own a small business, it is crucially important for you to back up all data that may be important. Depending upon the industry you operate in this may be a small amount of data or it may be an enormous amount. No matter how large or small, it is essential to have a place where this data is safe. Backing up your electronics at your home is equally important. There are more than likely numerous important bits of information saved on all of the devices in your house. Not to mention the many many pictures we share to all of our devices. Without a plan in place, these will all be lost after a natural disaster.

Review Your Supply Chain

If you have ever lived through a natural disaster like a hurricane you more than likely know that the world keeps on moving no matter how bad the situation is in your area. If you own or operate a small business that does business regionally or nationally, it is important to have a plan in place for how to keep the business churning throughout a natural disaster. Customers are still going to expect on time delivery of the goods and services you have contracted in advance. Thinking about these situations in advance can be the difference between a hurricane being a small slow down in business and a situation that your business never recovers from.

 

 

Examples of Cyber Attacks.

Target, the IRS, Anthem BlueCross/BlueShield, Yahoo, and Ebay. These are just a few of the biggest data breaches of the past five years. When you hear a data breach announced on the news, it is human nature to envision an IT Scientist cracking the code of an in-depth system of cyber security. Sometimes this is the source of a cyber attack, but many of the largest data breaches in history were started by something not highly technical. Here are some Examples of Cyber Attacks and how they begun.

Examples of Cyber Attacks | My Insurance Question

General Manager of a Professional Baseball Team uses a Weak Password

This actually happened between the Houston Astros and the St. Louis Cardinals when the Astros General Manager used the same user name and password in Houston that he had previously used when he worked in the Cardinals Front Office. Some employees from the St. Louis Cardinals Organization used this information to log in to the internal computer systems of the Houston Astros and obtained access to a database known as Ground Control, which was created by Luhnow. This database included details about confidential discussions within the Astros organization, player evaluations, trade recommendations, statistical information and more.

High-level Industry Executive uses the same password for all accounts

Many high level industry executives have extensive experience and expertise in their particular profession, but have only used computers for some or a small portion of their career. Many high level execs deal with interpersonal relationships between departments, partners and even competitors much more than the day to day operations of a business. For this reason they may not be as in tune with the risks a business faces in the realm of cyber security. These execs also have access to some of the most precious information a business may possess. This makes them prime targets for cyber attacks. In many industries there are many computer programs that require these execs to remember many different usernames and passwords. When you pair these accounts with all of the accounts these people have to use in their personal life, it is human nature to use the same password for multiple platforms. This makes it easy for hackers to find their password from one platform and use it to gain access to a bigger platform with more valuable sensitive information.

Salesman is travelling across country and has their laptop stolen in an airport

A few of the most common examples of cyber attacks are when an employee has a laptop stolen when they are away from the office. Depending upon the information saved on the device, it can be the source a hacker uses to start a data breach. Several data breaches have started when an employees laptop was stolen when their car was broken into and another occurrence happened at an airport while travelling for business. Bringing this to the attention of your employees when they use devices remotely will go a long way towards protecting your business.

Employee leaves the password to his computer on a post-it note attached to his desk

Leaving out a password in plain view can be a common way someone gains access to internal servers. Most offices have commercial cleaning companies in the facility after hours with little to know supervision. The people who work for these third party companies may or may not be ethical. Regardless it is imperative to not give them the opportunity to gain access to your internal computer systems. Many banks do monthly walk-throughs on unannounced days to find if employees are leaving sensitive information out on their desk. Depending upon the type of information your organization works with, this might be necessary for your business.

An employee clicks on an email that is actually a phishing scam

Phishing scams are a very common way for hackers to either install something malicious on one of your businesses computers or gain access to your internal servers. A phishing scam is when a hacker sends an email that looks legitimate asking the receiver to click on something within the email. Many of the emails look very authentic. There are businesses out there that can help you send out test emails to prepare your employees for a phishing scam. The company will send out an email periodically to see who will fall for the request. If the employee clicks on the link you are notified and you can go through additional training with that employee.

Small Business Insurance Jargon

Small Business Insurance Jargon you need to know as a business owner

Buying commercial insurance is something a small business owner has to do once a year. It is not something most business owners think about on a daily basis. When interacting with employees within the industry, there may be an awful lot of small business insurance jargon that is not exactly common knowledge to the general population. Here are ten terms to familiarize yourself with before your next renewal.

Small Business Insurance Jargon

BOP

BOP Stands for Business Owner’s Package or Business Owner’s Policy. A BOP is a package of policies, sold in tandem for businesses in a certain industry or classification code. Because of historical claims records, insurance carriers know the common risks for certain businesses in certain industries and they have created packages of policies specific to that industry.

Experience Mod

The Experience Modification Rating is frequently referred to as the Mod or the Experience Mod. This rating is a formula that includes the businesses Employer’s FEIN by the rating bureau (NCCI or the State Bureau).  The rating compares your loss data to other employers within the same class code of your business. The rating is expressed as a credit or debit on your policy.

Actual Cash Value

The current value of an insured piece of property. This is simply the appraisal value of a piece of property and does not include additional expenses related to a property loss.

Replacement Value

The value of purchasing a new property to replace a lost or damaged property,but it pays for the replacement at today’s value. Depending upon the language in the policy, a replacement value policy may include additional expenses like tear down and removal of debris, bringing the property up to current codes, and construction costs on the new property.

First Party

First Party Insurance Policies are policies that deal with the damages to you and your business. They may include damages like replacing a vehicle after a crash, replacing specialized equipment damaged during a storm, or even hiring a PR Firm to restore the reputation of your business after a data breach.

Third Party

A Third Party Insurance Policy deals with the liability your business faces relating to outside third parties that are damaged by the actions of your business. This may include repairing a broken window caused by the employee of a landscaping company or medical costs for someone slipping on their way to the bathroom in a restaurant.

EPLI

EPLI stands for Employment Practices Liability Insurance. This is an insurance policy that can protect your business when it faces a lawsuit related to hiring and firing of employees. In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, collected more than $482 million for victims of discrimination in private, federal and state and local government workplaces. The reason there is a need for this policy is that a lawsuit does not have to be founded to take up an enormous amount of time for you and your business to prove your innocence. An EPLI Policy can help your business stay afloat when you face one of these claims.

E&O

E&O stands for Errors and Omissions Insurance. It is also called Medical Malpractice in the Medical Profession. This policy protects the insured (you the business owner) against liability for committing an error or omission in performance of professional duties. This may include work done by an engineer or architect on a particular construction project. It may also include the work done by a doctor during surgery. Generally, such policies are designed to cover financial losses rather than liability for bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD).

Hired and Non-owned Auto

Hired and Non-owned Auto Insurance Coverage is designed for businesses who have employees who use their personal vehicles for business purposes or employees who use rented vehicles. The time that these employees are using the vehicle for business purposes is a time when your business is liable for the damages that are caused to third parties as a result of an accident that is the fault of your employee. It is commonly added as an addition to a commercial auto policy, but if your business does not own any vehicles it can be sold as a stand alone policy.

Inland Marine

An Inland Marine Insurance Policy is a specialized form or property insurance that is often referred to as equipment coverage. The primary distinction between inland marine and other property insurance is the fact that inland marine is designed specifically for property which is likely to be moved or in transit. Landscaping companies that have equipment on a trailer is an example of this risk. Inland Marine may be needed for companies with highly specialized property that requires a unique valuation. A land surveyor who uses specialized surveying equipment may need this policy.

 

Lawncare and Landscaping Risk

4 Risks all Lawncare and Landscaping Businesses Face

When looking to purchase commercial insurance, a business owner will hear a lot about the different types of Lawncare and Landscaping Risk their business faces. Many of the risks your business faces are similar to businesses in many industries, but many risks are unique to this industry. Here are four types of lawncare and landscaping risk that all businesses in this industry face.

Lawncare and Landscaping Risk

Slips, Trips, and Falls

Slips, Trips, and Falls are a risk that many businesses face. The Lawncare and Landscaping Risk is high in relation to slips, trips, and falls. Because of the physical nature of the work, lower back injuries are common. Talking about the health and safety with your staff is the first step to any good workplace safety plan. Let your employees know you care about their health and they will be more likely to take it seriously.

Driving

Because of the remote nature of the industry, driving is a part of the work. The time that employees are driving to and from a third party location is a time when the business is liable for damages that occur as a result of a car accident that is the fault of a businesses employees. It is essential to secure adequate commercial auto insurance, to pull the driving records of anyone who will be driving as part of their job, and to implement a safe driving program into the fabric of your business.

Third Party Liability

Liability to third parties is high because of the remote nature of the Lawncare and Landscaping Industry. Third party liability can come in the form of property damage, bodily injury and even dissatisfaction with your work. This type of liability can include damage to the property you are working on, injury to the people at those locations, or even not performing the tasks to the standards of your new clients. Doing a walk-through with all potential clients is important to set expectations, but also to get to know the ins and outs of the property that may not be obvious to the untrained eye.

Seasonality

Depending upon the weather in the area your business operates, there will be peaks and valleys when it comes to the seasonality of your business. Even if your business offers snow removal services in Winter, there will be some amount of time throughout the year when the amount of work declines. It is important to plan for these time periods and to use them wisely. Keeping up an adequate amount of hours for your staff may be the difference between keeping a valued employee and having to train a new fresh employee without adequate experience.

Landscaping: Pay as You Go Workers Compensation

4 ways Small Businesses can save when purchasing Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses

The Landscaping Industry can be seasonal in nature depending upon the climate where a business is located. The industry is also dependent, to some extent, upon the weather. Because of this seasonal nature and the dependency on the weather, it can be difficult to forecast man hours throughout the entire year. This can make a traditional workers compensation policy costly and in accurate. For this reason it is wise for most companies to go with Pay as you Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses

Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses | My Insurance Question

Low Up-front Costs

With a traditional workers’ compensation policy the insurance carrier requires a down payment of around 1/4 to 1/3 of the total premium up-front just to get a policy in place. This amount is estimated depending upon the previous year or the previous three years payroll. In the landscaping business this can be a problem because the amount of man hours is dependent on a number of factors that are out of the businesses control. In most cases, with Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses, a business owner can get a policy in place for little more than a few hundred dollars. This allows the business to free up additional cash that can be better spent on more immediate business needs.

Pay Premium in Real-time

As previously stated, a traditional workers compensation insurance plan is based off of an estimate from a previous years payroll. This can be extremely different than the current years staffing levels. This can cause a landscaping business to severely over or under pay for premium throughout the year. When you have over paid this might be a pleasant surprise after an end of term audit determines you get a refund. On the contrary if you under pay premium it can cause you to take on an unexpected cost. When a business goes with a Pay as you Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses, they pay the premium in real-time based upon the previous months actual payroll levels. This dramatically improves accuracy and frees up cash for other expenditures.

Less risk of being audited

Pay as You Go Workers’ Compensation allows business owners to pay their premium in real-time each month based upon the previous months payroll. They do this through a three way partnership between a payroll company, the insurance agency, and the landscaping business. This benefits all three parties involved because the payroll company keeps an accurate count of man hours worked each month, the insurance agency bills the landscaping company based upon an accurate payroll from the previous month, and the landscaping company is at less risk of being audited mid term for their payroll and insurance premium payments.

Frees up Cash

When a small business decides to go Pay as You Go Workers Compensation for Landscaping Businesses they are able to free up cash for two main reasons. First, because of the accuracy of your insurance payments there are less surprises at the end of the term due to over or under paying. Also, there is a lower up-front cost due to not having to pay up to a third of the premium just to get coverage in place. This is great for start ups and cash strapped businesses alike.

Distracted Driving: Types of Cognitive Distractions

April is distracted driving awareness month.  Distracted driving is an enormous killer on the roads today. There are three main types of distracted driving; manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. This article is going to be about examples of cognitive distractions. Here are 4 examples of cognitive distractions.

Cognitive Distractions | My Insurance Question

Talking to another Passenger

Talking to another passenger is the most basic example of a cognitive distraction. Depending upon how in-depth the conversation is, it can take both your mental attention and possibly your eyes away from the road while behind the wheel.

Road Rage

Road rage is one of the cognitive distractions that is far too common on the roads today. Road rage has been on the rise for the better part of the last decade. This cognitive distraction is more common among commuters compared to non-commuters. Anger when behind the wheel significantly increases the frequency and severity of crashes.

Daydreaming

Many people spend a lot of time behind the wheel commuting to work. Early in the morning, it is common for many people to think about the weekend or the previous night. It is also common for them to mentally prepare for their day at work. The same can be said for the commute home at the end of the day. People commonly use the commute home to replay the previous day, plan for the next work day, and prepare for their time at home with their family. No matter what is coming in to their mind it can be dangerous because it

Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol is not only against the law in every state, it is extremely dangerous. no matter how much someone has had to drink, driving under the influence of alcohol impacts your driving ability.

 

 

Distracted Driving: 6 Examples of Visual Distractions

April is distracted driving awareness month. As a result, we are trying to bring attention to the many ways people can be distracted while behind the wheel of an automobile. There are three types distractions for drives; manual, visual, and cognitive. Today we are going to give you some examples of visual distractions that can impact a driver when behind the wheel.

A Visual Distraction can come in many forms when behind the wheel of a car.

BillBoard

We are constantly distracted by advertisements in our ever connected world. Even when we are in the car and off of our electronic devices, there are still ways for advertisers to attempt to gain our attention. Creative BillBoard Advertisements can distract a driver enough to cause an accident. This is one of the most common types of visual distraction.

Cell Phone

The most common way for a driver to be distracted inside a vehicle is for them to look at their cell phone. This is without a doubt the most common form of visual distraction when people are behind the wheel.

Car Navigation System

Car navigation systems are becoming much more common in new vehicles. Even vehicles that do not come with a navigation system have the ability to connect to endless options of GPS Units that can be added to the vehicle. While these devices can help drivers when travelling in an unfamiliar area, it is never a good idea for the driver to be the one operating the device.

Checking on the Kids

Parents with a young child in the car with them have many responsibilities on top of driving the vehicle. Children can be very convincing when they are in the middle of a tantrum. No matter what emergency the child is facing in the back seat of the car, it is not more important than safely operating the automobile. For this reason, it is extremely important to avoid this type of visual distraction.

Radio/Temperature Controls

Radio and temperature controls can take your distraction away from the road and become a visual distraction. Even if the amount of time of this distraction is small, it can be the difference between stopping in time and having a collision. It is especially important to familiarize yourself with these dials when operating a rental car or driving any unfamiliar vehicle.

The View

Some people are fortunate enough to live in an area of the country that has immaculate views around them. These views can be both a blessing and a curse when behind the wheel of a car. It is tempting to take in these views because of the immense beauty of the area, but the amount of time your eyes are not on the road can result in a crash.

 

5 Types of Manual Distracted Driving

Manually Distracted Driving

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month and in honor of this month My Insurance Question is dedicating a majority of our attention towards helping individuals and small businesses end distracted driving. The first step towards ending distracted driving is knowing exactly what distracted driving is. Far too many people think distracted driving begins and ends with the cellphone. While a majority of distractions to drivers do involve a mobile device, there are far more ways people can be distracted while behind the wheel.  The three main types of distractions include manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Here are examples of 5 types of manual distractions.

Manual Distracted Driving is just as dangerous as sending a text.

What is a manual distraction?

According to the website DMV.org a manual distraction is anything that causes you to take one or both hands off of the wheel. Now you will find that most distractions involve more than one type of distraction. For instance, rolling down the window may include all three types of distractions: Cognitive because you are thinking about the window instead of the road, manual because you are taking your hand off the wheel to push a button to roll down the window, and visual if you look away from the road to observe the window.

Using your phone is not the only way to be distracted while driving. Here are five examples of manual distractions.

Here are 5 examples of manual distractions while behind the wheel. 

Eating and drinking

Today we live in an on-the-go society. Taking a look at the drive-thru line of your nearest McDonalds is all the evidence you need to know there are a lot of people out on the roads eating and drinking while behind the wheel. Eating and drinking are a manual distraction because you have to physically use your hands to do something other than have be placed on the wheel at ten and two.

Smoking

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 15.5 percent of Americans 18 or older still smoke. The amount of Americans who smoke has been on a constant decline for many years. This amount of drivers still means one and a half of every ten drivers smoke. Many of them smoke when behind the wheel. The reason this is a manual distraction is because they physically have to hold the cigarette for an extended period of time. This creates an extended period of time when these drivers face a manual distraction.

Turning knobs in your car

There are more knobs and buttons in our cars now than ever before. Many new cars come with an electronic display for climate control, radio features, and even GPS capability. these are all potential manual distractions because of the fact you have to take your hand off the steering wheel in order to use any of the controls.

Tending to a child

Children are the most valued possession in any parents life. In most instances, taking care of the needs of a child come before anything a parent needs to do for themselves. When you are behind the wheel this should not be the case. No matter how bad of a tantrum your child is throwing, what they are facing is never as important as keeping them from being involved in a car accident.

Searching through your purse or wallet

Most adults carry a purse or wallet with them at all times. They include personal items like id cards, credit and debit cards as well as gum, mints, makeup and anything else we just cannot do without. These are all potential manual distractions because to use any of these items, the driver must take their hand off the wheel in order to get in to the purse or wallet. These items should be kept out of reach of the driver at all times while behind the wheel.

 

3 Types of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a public health issue that affects everyone in America. April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month.  The latest statistics show motor vehicle fatalities are up 6% from 2015. More than 40,000 people were killed on our nation’s roadways each of the previous two years.  Distracted driving is a major contributor.

When thinking or discussing distracted driving, far too many people think distracted driving starts and ends with the cell phone, but there are many other ways a driver can be distracted when behind the wheel. The three main ways someone can be distracted when behind the wheel deal with manual, visual, and cognitive distractions. Here is an in-depth description of each type of distraction with examples of each.

Manually Distracted Driving

Manually Distracted DrivingThe first and foremost type of distraction any driver faces when behind the wheel is anything that causes a driver to take one or both hands off of the steering wheel. This can be from eating or drinking while in the car, adjusting a GPS unit, getting something out of a purse or wallet, or sending a full text message. No matter how small the distraction may seem, it can lead to serious consequences when a distracted driver becomes the victim of a car crash.

Visual Distracted Driving

Visually Distracted DrivingThere are a number of types of visual distractions a driver can face while operating a motor vehicle. Some visual distractions cause the drivers visual field to be blocked. This can occur because of heavy rain and inadequate windshield wipers. It can also occur when a driver is moving and the back windshield is blocked by the goods being moved. A visual distraction can occur when a driver decides not to look in a certain area before making a move behind the wheel. This can be as simple as not looking both ways at a stop sign. It can be not turning your head to observe the lane you are about to turn in to, instead just relying on the mirrors. Additional visual distractions can come when the driver actually looks at something not related to the act of driving. This can be a clever billboard on the side of the highway or a funny video your friend in the passenger seat wants you to view. No matter what type of visual distraction someone faces when behind the wheel, it is extremely important for the driver to do everything possible to keep their attention on the act of driving.

Cognitively Distracted Driving

The final type of distracted driving deals with the drivers cognitive ability to pay attention to the task of driving.  There are many things that can contribute to this type of a distraction. One of the most common is talking on the phone with a hands-free device like a bluetooth. This type of distraction can also come in the form of an in-depth conversation with a significant other or a person getting excited when their new favorite song comes on the radio. The main danger with cognitive distractions is that in our society today we are constantly inundated with distractions. Because of these distractions we get comfortable doing two things at once, but that is a false sense of security when you get behind the wheel of a car. When you are behind the wheel of a car, the stakes are far to high to risk driving while distracted.