Distracted driving can cause life altering effects for drivers and passengers. In fact, in Florida alone, over 39,000 accidents leading to injuries were caused by distracted driving while hundreds of thousands of such crashes caused property damage. In recent years, the distracted driving related crashes have continued to increase.
Simply put, distracted driving involves multitasking when behind the wheel. This activity diverts the attention of the driver away from the task at hand. The distraction could be cognitive, manual, or visual. Distracted driving is now an epidemic – one that needs to stop already. However, to achieve this, it would be imperative drivers understand the likely causes of distractions.
Causes of Distracted Driving
The National Safety Council has revealed that 26% of car accidents have been caused by cellphone use. In fact, talking or texting is just as dangerous as driving under influence. Making use of a hands-free device for calls while driving could also be a cause for distraction and increases the risk of a car accident.
Eating or Drinking
The presence of cup holders in every car today makes it easy for drivers to grab a drink while driving. In the same way, it is pretty easy to take a bite or two during a long commute or on your way to work. This multitasking strategy is never ideal – it only takes a few seconds to lose focus on the task before you.
Although technology makes driving more interesting and even safer, it can also be a source of distraction. Engaging in little tasks such as adjusting the A/C, radio, music controls, or even setting your route or looking out for directions on the GPS can be dangerous. If you must use GPS, mounting it in an area you can easily see it would be great. It would also be ideal to turn up the GPS volume so you can listen to the route guide instead of always looking at the screen.
Being “lost in thought”
This is one of the major causes of distracted driving leading to fatalities today. This may occur when a driver has been behind the wheel for a while. You may become complacent, with your mind wandering, forgetting how dangerous taking your mind off the road can be. Accidents can happen within a second of driver complacency – it can be fatal enough to cause the death of people involved.
Care of children or pets while driving
Driving with your pet especially when they are loose in the car can be a huge source of distraction. When they sit on your lap or move around, they can turn your attention away. The presence of children in the car is enough distraction already – they may complain about a few things or yell for your attention.
Sometimes, it is impossible to look your best before you get into the car. Unfortunately, most people think driving provides a perfect opportunity to set things straight and put the finishing touches to their grooming. This may involve combing your hair, applying lipstick, or using a deodorant. These activities take your hands – and indeed, your mind off the road – and can easily lead to car accidents.