Most drivers are at least aware of the main causes of distracted driving. Most drivers are also at least aware that distracted driving is bad and dangerous, though the knowledge may not prevent some drivers from making a phone call or texting while driving. But even the most responsible drivers may not consider some potential distractions as potentially harmful. These lesser known but still common driving distractions can cause accidents, so it is best to at least be aware of these distractions as a risk.
Eating, Drinking, or Smoking
Those fries may taste best when eaten fresh, but reaching into the drive thru bag to grab some while driving can cause a loss of focus on the task at hand. The same goes for any action that requires you taking a hand off the wheel and eyes off the road. Eating, drinking, and smoking all require taking actions that can reduce the ability to drive safely, and that is assuming that the actions are taken successfully. Any ‘accident’ involving food or drink, say spilling a very hot coffee, can cause a major distraction that could lead to a crash. To avoid distracted driving, it is best to keep both eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel.
Listening to Your Favorite Music
Are you singing along to a song? Drumming on the steering wheel? Headbanging? Then you are likely distracted! Several studies have highlighted different aspects of danger while listening to music while driving. The findings from those different studies show that:
- If you are listening to music you like, you may be especially focused on the music and not quite as focused on driving
- If you are listening to music that is being played at high volume, your reaction time to avoid a crash is slower
- If you are choosing what music to listen to, you are taking your eyes off the road and increasing your risk of a crash
Driving with Passengers
Passengers pose a significant distraction risk to drivers. How significant? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, talking with passengers is the leading cause of crashes resulting from distracted driving. And yet, the risk is often overlooked due to necessity. If you are driving and find yourself distracted by passengers, try to redirect your focus back to the roads for the safety of both you and your passengers.
Strong emotions are distracting, because when you are experiencing, anger, sadness, or any other strong emotion, you are not focusing on the causes of those emotions, not the roads. One study even put the risk of driving angry at 9.8 times the normal risk. The increased risk would likely carry over to positive moods too for similar reasons. If you are extremely happy after receiving some good news just before hitting the road, you’re likely thinking a lot about that good news and less on the road as you’re driving. It is much easier to focus on driving after calming down.
The very definition of ‘daydream’ includes the word distract, yet daydreaming is not often associated with distracted driving. It is not uncommon for minds to wander during a long drive, but if drivers are daydreaming, they are not as focused on the roads as they need to be. Drivers should save those pleasant thoughts for when they can enjoy them safely.
Collision with a distracted driver? We can help.
The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth helps the injured victims of auto accidents. If your vehicle was hit by a distracted driver, our dedicated car accident lawyers can help you recover from your injuries, fix your car, seek lost wages, and pursue compensation for your pain and suffering. For a free consultation, call our offices today at 888-517-9888!