Common causes of distracted driving
Talking and texting
People who use their cell phones to talk or text while driving are by far the most common reason for distracted driving accidents. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that 26% of all car crashes involve cell phones.
We’ve become dependent on GPS to get us from point A to point B while driving. For many, using it doesn’t even seem like a choice anymore – it’s just what you do. But setting up a GPS route while driving is just as dangerous as texting. And even simply taking your attention from the road to glance down at the directions can lead to disaster. If you are going to use GPS, make sure it is mounted where you can easily see it… then turn up the volume anyway so that you can listen to the directions instead of having to constantly look at the screen.
Adjusting music or controls
Maybe you’re dying and you need to adjust the temperature. Or your child is yelling at you from the back seat to put on his music. Or the radio is just too darn loud. It may seem like a small thing to push a button or two, but it divides your attention – especially if you have to look away to do it. Small or not, it can be the difference between getting in an accident and having a smooth trip.
Or grooming in general. Sometimes you just don’t have time to look your best before you have to jump in the car. Unfortunately, many people seem to have decided that driving provides an opportunity to put on those finishing touches such as adding lipstick, combing their hair, or even using deodorant. Not surprisingly, these activities – which take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road – can easily lead to accidents.
Talking to passengers
If you have someone riding with you in the car, it’s only natural to talk to them. In fact, you probably feel kind of rude if you don’t. But you always have to remember that the paying attention to the road comes first. Turning to look at a passenger may feel like the right thing to do in the conversation, but it’s one of the worst things you can do while driving.
Not looking at the road
Lots of other causes tend to involve this particular action, but it’s worth looking at it by itself as well, because there are a number of different reasons why someone might take their eyes off the road. Perhaps you’re lost and looking for a landmark or address. Or there’s an accident on the side of the road and you want to know what’s going on. Maybe a gorgeous rainbow appears after a thundershower and you gawk at it. None of these seem like obvious dangerous acts, but all of them make an accident more likely.