You might not text and drive, but did you know there were other driving distractions you might be guilty of that put your safety at risk? That’s right…cell phone usage isn’t the only dangerous kind of distraction that can lead to potential serious injury or death while sitting behind the wheel. Distracted driving can impact anyone of us in the blink of an eye…not to mention send your auto insurance rates through the roof if you’re found at-fault in an accident.
Overconfidence in many drivers’ ability to multi-task is a leading cause of accidents. You may think you’re good, but what you are, is lucky – at least, so far. The fact is, you’re an accident waiting to happen – it’s just a matter of time.
Driving requires your full attention. Not just for some people – for everybody. According to the public education federal government website, Distraction.gov, 3,328 people were killed nationwide in distraction-related car crashes in 2012. And, 421,000 were injured in accidents involving a distracted driver.
While taking your eyes off the road can involve something as simple as adjusting the radio or CD player, to reaching in the back seat for a briefcase…there are six common dumb and dangerous reasons to not drive distracted.
1. Texting – Texting does three things:
• It takes your eyes off the road
• It takes your hands off the wheel
• It takes your mind off the task of driving
A study conducted in 2013 found that 12 percent of fatal crashes involved some form of cell phone use, including talking, listening, dialing, and texting. Taking your eyes off the road for 5 seconds at 55 mph is equivalent to driving the entire length of a football field blindfolded. A lot can happen over that distance. If you need to text or take a call…pull over.
2. Daydreaming – Researchers found this to be the top distraction cited by police investigations, accounting for 62 percent of fatal crashes attributed to distracted driving. Daydreaming takes your mind off what you’re doing, greatly increasing your chance of an accident. If you’re having trouble concentrating due to fatigue, just pull off the road and rest.
3. Driving with unrestrained pets – Dogs love the freedom of being able to roam in the car when on a trip. But, this can be dangerous practice, as it can cause injuries to you as well as your pet. According to an online survey of 1,000 dog owners:
• Only 16 percent of participants use pet restraints to hold dogs in place.
• 52 percent had petted their dogs while driving.
• 23 percent had used their hands or arms to hold dogs while braking.
4. Personal Grooming – Some drivers treat their cars as rolling dressing rooms or makeup vanities. The point is…it’s a car and the only thing you should be concentrating on is driving – not applying makeup, brushing your hair, or shaving because you got up 15 minutes too late.
5. Eating – Okay, this one we’ve all been guilty of. That said…it’s still wrong. There’s nothing worse than eating on the run. But, unwrapping a greasy cheeseburger or mopping up a spilled soft drink while driving is an extremely dangerous and risky proposition. It can be a full distraction, making it difficult to turn the wheel or hold a straight line in your lane. Wait till you pull over. It’ll keep you safer in the end.
6. Smoking – A lot can go wrong here. Whether you’re lighting the cigarette, smoking it, or putting it out. More often than not, you might be sitting at a red light preoccupied. Dropping a lit cigarette under your seat can also turn into an emergency situation, by forcing you to take your eyes off the road ahead while you try to find it before it starts a fire.
Driving is serious business and should be treated that way every time you get behind the wheel. By maintaining that attitude you can keep yourself, your family, and others safer when on the road.
Don’t neglect to check that you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Have you stopped using your mobile devices when driving? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.