It is obvious that we should do anything we can to prevent ourselves from distracted driving. But what constitutes a distraction while on the road? You may think that distracted driving may only refer to use of technology like mobile phones and GPS devices, and while technology is one of the largest and most common forms of distracted driving there are still many other things we can do while driving that can distract us from the road.
Distracted driving is a serious concern because it is estimated that 25% of all motor vehicle accident fatalities are a result of distracted driving. This means that distracted driving not only puts us at a much more significant chance of being involved in an automobile accident, but also increases our risk of death while on the road. This is why it is so important for everyone to be fully informed on all types of distracted driving and make sure we are all doing what we should be to keep our attention focused on the road.
Cell Phone Use
Cell phone use does still remain one of the largest and most common forms of distracted driving. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phones are involved in 26% of all automobile accidents. Whether you are using your cell phone to talk or text, using a handheld device or Bluetooth device, using your phone while driving is always a distraction as it splits our focus and can take our hands off the wheel and our minds off the road.
Adjusting Music, GPS, or Other Controls
Technology expansion has affected us in every aspect of our lives, including driving. While listening to music in the car presents a minimal risk of causing distracted driving, reaching to change the controls on the radio can cause a distraction. Likewise, trying to make any adjustments to a GPS device also leads to distracted driving as we are more focused on making sure the information in the GPS is correct than we are focused on what is going on with the road.
Any time you need to split your attention between driving and making an adjustment on any type of control you are increasing your risk of being involved in an accident related to distracted driving. So, do everything you can to make sure your controls are setup the way they need to be before you head out on the road for a trip. Keep the radio on one station, set the GPS instructions before you leave and make sure the volume is turned up, so you can listen to directions instead of looking away for directions, and set the temperature to a comfortable climate before you start your drive.
Driving with passengers in our vehicles can become a major distraction in itself. Turning even slightly to look at a passenger while talking to them is one of the worst decisions you can make while driving. When you turn your head during a conversation while driving you have now taken both your eyes and your mind’s focus off of the road and onto the passenger. It’s normal and even okay to talk to other passengers while driving, just make sure you are staying focused and aware of what is going on with the road as a first priority at all times.
Looking At Other Surroundings Instead of The Road
While other passengers certainly do pose a risk for distracted driving, other people, places, and things going on outside of the vehicle are actually an even greater reason for distracted driving. There are many things that can us to look around at our surroundings while driving instead of keeping our eyes focused on the road ahead of us. These things can include looking for an address or specific landmark, looking at other people on the side of the street, and even looking at another accident that has occurred. While it is easy to let our curiosity get the best of us, it is important to not let it get to us while driving.
Putting On or Touching Up Makeup
We don’t always have enough time to make sure we are looking our absolute best before we leave the house. And unfortunately, too many people are deciding that their commute time gives them extra time to complete their finishing touches on their makeup or grooming in general. Anything from adding lipstick to combing our hair to putting on deodorant are all grooming activities that take our focus off of the road and lead to distracted driving.
Eating And Drinking (And We Don’t Just Mean Alcohol)
With our busy lifestyles it is natural for us to try to grab a snack and a drink as we’re walking out the door, or to stop for fast food along our way, but eating and drinking while driving can be a huge cause of distracted driving because it takes our eyes off the road and at least one of our hands off the wheel. And if we have an accidental spill that occurs while we are eating and drinking while driving this can become even more of a distraction for us. It is best to make sure that you are filling up before or after your trips.
We shouldn’t smoke anyways because it isn’t good for our health. But smoking while driving can lead to distracted driving in a couple different ways – it takes at least one hand off the wheel while smoking or lighting a cigarette and possibly both hands off the wheel when reaching for a cigarette and may also take our eyes off the road if we’re looking for a cigarette or putting one out. If you must smoke, make sure you’re not doing it while driving.
Now that you know everything that could be causing you to drive distractedly lets all work together to make sure we are avoiding these things and keeping all of our focus and attention on the task of driving and the road. If you would like to review your current auto insurance policy, or if you are looking for a new policy contact us today to speak with a licensed professional agent who can review your policy and discuss your needs!