Despite efforts to raise awareness, distracted driving remains one of the top causes of car accidents across the nation. Most people simply consider texting and driving the culprit, but this deadly habit takes on many forms. Here the top five distractions behind the wheel.
1. Lost in Thought
The top cause behind vehicle accidents is general distraction. It’s easy to “zone out” while driving, losing yourself in thought and simply not paying attention to the road. This is especially true when driving a familiar route, like your commute to and from work or a trip to the grocery store.
While you’re distracted, you’re not paying attention to the road or other cars around you. This can cause you to merge into another vehicle, hit the brakes too late, or miss an oncoming obstacle. Always make sure to stay alert.
2. Cell Phones
Texting and driving is still one of the top causes of accidents. Traveling at 50 miles per hour, you drive the length of a football field in five seconds. If your eyes are on your phone, you might as well be doing it blindfolded.
It isn’t just texting, though. A personal injury lawyer at Jolly Berry Law warns clients against taking calls while driving without a hands-free device, as well. While your eyes might be on the road, your mind is on the conversation you’re having. It’s equally as dangerous as texting.
3. Outside Influence
There are times when something catches your eye on the road. It could be construction, an unexpected event, or even just a person walking by. Just like texting, you begin to take your eyes off the road and focus on this outside influence. Within a couple seconds, you could cause a severe accident.
There’s nothing like a companion in the car to talk with, especially on long trips. However, the passenger in your car can be a distraction themselves. Whether it’s having a conversation with your friend or checking on your children, these individuals can quickly take your mind off the road.
It’s okay to have a conversation or check on your children, but it’s vital that you keep your focus on driving. Don’t get wrapped up in talking to the point where you’re no longer conscious of other drivers around you.
5. Eating and Drinking
What’s the harm in having some French fries while you drive, a drink of soda, or a bite of a sandwich? It might seem harmless, but these habits are just as dangerous as texting and driving. With one less free hand, your reaction time decreases.
At the same time, you might find yourself more focused on your meal than what you’re doing. Attorneys at Bowling Law warn that the combination is more than enough to cause a fatal accident. It’s hard enough to avoid a crash when you’re fully paying attention. So, how can you expect yourself to do so with drink in one hand and your eyes fixed on a fast-food bag?