Distracted driving has become one of the most common causes of car accidents in recent years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving was involved in 3,166 traffic-related deaths in the U.S. in 2017 alone.
Distracted driving is defined as performing another task that takes your attention away from driving. Distractions can take your eyes away from the road, your hands away from the steering wheel, and your focus away from the primary task of operating a vehicle.
The following are the most common distractions that cause car accidents:
- Cellphones – From communicating with loved ones and uploading pictures on social media to checking your bank accounts and staying updated with current events, cellphones have become an important part of our daily lives. Unfortunately, many people can’t seem to put their phones down while they’re on the road. Not only is talking on your cellphone or texting while driving extremely dangerous, but it is also against the law in California and in most states.
- Talking to passengers – Whenever there is a passenger in your car, you cannot help but talk to them or engage in a conversation. Although it may appear rude not to respond or not to make eye contact, turning to look at a passenger may result in an accident.
- Outside events – Whether you are gawking at an accident that just happened or looking at another driver picking their nose, looking at something or someone outside your vehicle is even more distracting than passengers in your own vehicle.
- Audio and climate controls – Changing radio stations or adjusting the temperature takes your attention away from the road. While it may appear to take only a moment, doing so can take long enough to render yourself unable to properly react to unexpected road conditions, resulting in an accident.
- GPS – Many of us rely on navigational devices to help us get from point A to point B. However, constantly glancing at the directions can lead to a collision. The next time you plan on using a GPS, ensure it is mounted in a position you can easily see and increase the volume in order to mainly rely on listening, rather than reading.
- Eating and drinking – In order to save time, many people eat and drink on their way to their destination. Unfortunately, eating can be a physical, visual, and cognitive distraction, which is just as dangerous as texting while driving.
- Grooming – Again, many people attempt to save time by combing their hair or putting on their makeup while driving. Yet, grooming while driving can often lead to a crash.
- Spacing out – Considered the number one distraction while driving, being “lost in thought” and letting your mind wander while on the road can result in an accident.