North Carolina drivers know that distracted driving puts everyone at risk. There are campaigns against the most obvious dangerous distracted driving behaviors. This includes texting while driving and drowsy driving. But what about lesser known forms? 

There are also some distracted driving issues that people may not realize are problems. Chief among those is having passengers. 

Three categories of driver distraction

The National Safety Council discusses many factors that put driver safety at risk. Distractions come in many forms. But a distraction often falls into one of three categories. These categories include visual, physical and cognitive distractions. 

Visual distractions involve things that draw your eyes from the road. Physical distractions have you taking your hands off the wheel. And cognitive distractions detract your focus from driving. Many distractions fall under multiple categories at once. 

What makes passengers so risky

Passengers unfortunately act as distractions in all three categories at times. You may want to engage in conversation. This can distract your mind. You might want to look over when you talk to a passenger. If you have kids in the back seat, you may also look at them to make sure they are not misbehaving. 

Sometimes, you can take your hands off of the wheel for passengers, too. For example, if you are a parent and your child drops something on the floor, you may reach to pick it up. Doing any of these things can put you, your passengers, and other drivers at risk. But you may not even realize it is a risk at the time. Paying attention to passengers is so normalized. Most drivers will not think twice about it.