Distracted driving has become a common trend and safety advocates are reminding us about the importance of staying focused while driving.
As a matter of fact, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 9 people are killed every day in the U.S. owing to car accidents involving distracted driving.
A common misconception between drivers is that they relate distracted driving solely to texting and driving, which is not only inaccurate but also negligent.
Having said that, here are 6 causes of distracted driving every driver needs to watch out before hitting the road.
Driving while upset or sad
Driving emotionally could be as risky as handling a phone call or text while on the road.
Next time you are about to drive somewhere while coping with anger, sadness or any other emotional breakdown, refrain from driving for your own safety.
One U.S. study has found that drivers who are observably angry, sad, crying, or emotionally disturbed increase their chances of getting involved in a car crash by nearly ten times.
Listening to your favorite song while driving
You may be skeptical about this source of distraction but it has been proven that listening to music while driving could affect our focus.
An Israeli study based on observation has demonstrated that driving while listening to loud music decreases your driving focus by 20%, whereas listening to softer songs at a moderate volume let drivers stay focused on the road.
That said, look for relaxing music genres, say classical or jazz music, and keep the volume down so it doesn’t affect your drive.
Driving with dogs and kids as passengers
Avoid having cuddly distractions with your dog while driving. The same also applies to kids since they could be a bigger distraction, even more distracting than adults.
To avoid cuddly distractions, keep your pet safe by putting it in a backseat-friendly kennel or seat before driving.
Kids should be sitting straight, wearing their seatbelts, and not giving you any reason to divert your attention from the road.
Using hands-free devices while driving
Many drivers try to look for alternatives to stay focused on the road while multi-tasking. Some believe that using hands-free devices while driving reduces your chances of getting involved in a car crash.
However, using hands-free devices isn’t less distracting than manually using your cell phone.
Some studies have shown that once you finished making your phone call (via speakerphone), drivers take few seconds to re-adjust to road mode, which could give room to dangerous mistakes.
Reaching for something in your backseat
It’s part of your road planning to ensure you are carrying everything with you and at your reach.
One study has found that drivers who reach for food, gadgets, or any other items, are nine times more likely to get involved in a car accident.
Eating or drinking while driving
NHTSA reported that those who eat and drive increase the chances of an accident by 80%. Similarly, they also found that 65% of near miss accidents are caused by distracted drivers handling food or drink items.
That’s an alarming situation since many drivers try to save time by having breakfast while heading to work.
Driving while grabbing your breakfast burrito or morning coffee could lead you to a car crash, so consider having your breakfast before or after heading to your destination.