In driving school we learn lessons like defensive driving and being wary of drunk drivers. But in the modern era where time is limited and distractions abound, it’s important to understand how daily habits like applying makeup or responding to that text can have devastating consequences. It’s no secret that distracted driving puts you and other drivers at risk for serious injury and even death. Between 2012 and 2019, over 26,000 people have lost their lives in accidents involving distracted drivers.
Today on the blog we want to highlight 8 distractions that can put you and others in serious jeopardy on the roads.
Types of Driving Distractions
There are three types of distracts while driving; visual, manual, and cognitive.
Visual distractions are typically things, both inside and outside the vehicle, that take your eyes off the road.
Manual distractions are things that take your hands off the wheel
Cognitive distractions are distractions the take your focus and attention away from driving and place them on to other things.
Any of these types of distractions increases your likelihood for a crash. When combined, the likelihood for a crash to happen is even higher.
8 Distractions that Can Cause Accidents
Whenever you apply makeup while driving or decide that traffic is the ideal location for a fresh shave, you put yourself and others at risk. In today’s fast-paced world, it makes sense when drivers use commuting time to finish up their morning-care routine on the way to the office. However, grooming practices in the car are manually distracting. They take your hands off the wheel and require you to take your eyes off the road to check your progress. Every time this happens, you put yourself at risk for an accident.
The best way to break this habit is to give yourself extra time at home to finish up your grooming. This way, you arrive looking your best and stay safe on the roads.
2) Eating and drinking
While eating on the road may seem like a harmless activity, one spill or dropped french fry can quickly spiral into disaster.
Let’s say you just picked up a hot cup of coffee on your way into the office. As you’re continuing along your commute, another driving pulls in front of you with no warning, forcing you to stomp on your brakes and drop your coffee, sending hot liquid all over your lap, the seat, and the carpeted floor. This situation is a common one and could easily stop here. It could also spiral into a series of events that causes you, distracted and burned, to neglect the road, possibly resulting in an accident.
While split coffee may be the least distracting food or beverage related distraction, the amount of cognitive and mechanical power that eating while driving distracts you from the road increases with the complexity of the food being consumed, especially if what you’re eating involves using a fork or at times requires you to use both hands.
Texting is the most dangerous form of distracted driving because it distracts you manually, cognitively, and visually. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 400 people lose their lives every year as a direct result of texting while driving. And according to a study out of Virginia Tech, you’re 20x more likely to get into an accident when you’re texting and driving. Though hands-free devices have helped somewhat in addressing the problem, it’s still better to wait until you get to your destination to respond to that text.
4)Talking on the phone
Talking on the phone while driving is something we’re all guilty of, but even if you’re using a bluetooth speaker or other hands-free device, talking on the phone can be extremely dangerous. Even if both of your hands stay on the wheel the entire time, having a phone conversation can take your focus off the road and onto the conversation, decreasing your ability to react in a crisis.
5) Entertainment systems
These days cars are equipped with the latest gadgets and gizmos. Touch screen entertainment systems provide music, movies, and more. They’re the perfect companion for long road trips and entertaining kids while running errands. Unfortunately, fiddling with entertainment systems in order to get your desired station or song is also extremely dangerous. This can take your eyes, your hands, and your mind off of the road, increasing the likelihood for an accident.
Speaking of kids, children and other passengers can significantly decrease your ability to focus on the road. Whether it’s a sibling squabble, a friend dancing, or an engaging conversation, these interactions can all distract you cognitively (and sometimes manually and visually).
7) Drowsy Driving
In 2019 drowsy driving kills 697 people. Fatigue while driving is serious, and should never be taken lightly.
In a society that is constantly go go go it can be easy to shirk off weariness in order to maintain a schedule. But if you’re too tired to drive, it’s better for you to stay home or have someone else drive you than risk being out on the roads by yourself.
If you’re the proud parent of a fur baby, this one’s for you. Having to drive our animals around is essential at one point or another. Whether you’re taking your dog for a walk, transporting them to the groomers, or taking them into the vet, it’s important to make sure that your pet isn’t distracting you from the road in the process.
The best way to avoid pet-related distractions is to make sure they’re secure and can’t jump up into the front seat with you. This advice is great for two reasons. When your pet is secure, whether in a carrying case or a harness, they’re more likely to enjoy a safer ride. This also means that you won’t be distracted making sure they’re okay, which allows you to give your full attention to the road.
Avoiding these distractions can help you in an accident. We hope this list can help you identify habits or distractions you can cut back on. Even still, we know that not all accidents can be avoided. If you’re a Tacoma driver and into an accident and need a team of experts, come to Courtesy Auto Service and Tire Repair of Tacoma. We’ll get you back up I’m running in no time!