You’ve heard the phrase before: no texting while driving. There’s good reason for it too. In 2011, at least 23 percent of auto collisions involved cell phones, according to TextingandDrivingSafety.com. Distracted driving is a real problem in America, and it’s one that Americans face every day.
But did you know it’s not the only way you can get distracted while driving?
There are a variety of ways you might get distracted while in the driver’s seat, and most of them don’t even involve a cell phone.
Here are three driving distractions maybe you haven’t thought of:
1. Eating or drinking
You’re on the road, you’re late for work, and you suddenly realize that you’re hungry. So you think to drive into the nearest fast food restaurant and grab a quick bite to eat while you hit the road.
Party foul. Drop that burger, seal the chips and pour your drink out of your car window. A 2009 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows that eating while driving caused 80 percent of all car accidents on the road. It seems like most distracted drivers were more focused on their meal rather than the road. Most disturbing is a study by ExxonMobil Corp that shows that 70% of drivers eat while driving, and 83% drink beverages.
Ouch. Just make sure it isn’t hot coffee you’re drinking.
2. Operating the controls
It almost seems like a reflex. You’re listening to the radio, but you want to hear something different, so you change the frequency, maybe bump up the volume a bit. Messing with the controls isn’t harmful, right?
Well, it can be. According to PropertyCasualty360, messing with your car controls has accounted for two percent of total car crashes. This includes radio, air conditioning, GPS, Bluetooth, and any other devices your car may have on hand. While that number is lower than most other forms of distracted driving, it’s still important to know that distraction is there. You might want to wait for the stoplight before tuning to 106.1 FM.
You wouldn’t think that the number one distracted driving danger doesn’t involve any fidgeting, object, or device of any kind. No, it’s just you at the wheel, dozing off, thinking about other things instead of the cars that are in front of you. According to a study by Erie Insurance, daydreaming drivers account for 62 percent of total road fatalities. That’s even higher than text messaging, which surprisingly, is only at 12 percent in their report. Ew.
So how do you keep yourself from getting distracted? Simply put, focus up. Play some music. Roll down your window. Find things to keep your attention on the road as you drive from one location to another. It could save your vehicle, and maybe your life, in the long run.