Distracted driving is one of the main causes of accidents and includes many different activities, not just texting and driving. Even hands-free technology can cause distracted driving because it can cause you to remain distracted for up to 27 seconds after setting it up. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety, teen drivers are more prone to this behavior and can put themselves and safety of others on the road at risk.
20 percent of drivers have admitted to styling their hair while driving, and 14 percent of drivers have applied makeup. 86 percent of people have eaten or consumed a beverage while in the driver's seat. In 2018, 2,800 people died in crashes involving distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety, which is dedicated to eliminating risky behavior.
What Is Distracted Driving and What Are The Risks?
Distracted driving involves operating a vehicle while performing other types of activities. It can include talking on the phone, sending text messages, using a GPS system, talking to other people in the car, or eating and drinking. You can also be guilty of distracted driving by tending to children or pets who are in the car.
Distracted driving takes your attention away from the road and puts yourself and other motorists at risk of a crash. Approximately one out of four vehicle crashes involving distracted are due to cell phone use or other types of activities that can be avoided.
What Is Considered Distracted Driving?
Distracted driving is anything that doesn't allow you to have your full attention on the road. It can compromise your ability to drive safely and affect how well you operate the car.
Some types of distracted driving will prompt you to take your hands off the wheel, while other types of driving cause you to take your eyes off the road. Even daydreaming is distracting because it prevents you from thinking about the actions you're performing while operating the vehicle. It can slow down your reaction time and affect your ability to drive defensively.
What Are The Most Common Distractions While Driving?
There is a long list of distractions that take drivers' attention off the road as they participate in other types of activities while operating a motor vehicle. Here are some of the most common distractions that occur when driving.
Texting while driving is the most common type of distracted driving that causes one in four car crashes in the U.S. Using electronic devices while behind the wheel is incredibly common and can take your eyes off the road for at least five seconds, which is enough time for an accident to occur.
Using navigation or a GPS is also distracting, especially when it's on a cell phone device. It's safer to use a GPS that is mounted on the dashboard to avoid a collision. Increase the volume to ensure you can listen to the directions instead of focusing on the screen to determine when to make your next turn.
Talking to other passengers is also distracting and can cause you to turn your head to look at the other person. Teen drivers are twice as likely to get into an accident, making it necessary to stay focused on the road.
Tending to children or pets in the car can be dangerous, especially if dogs or cats get loose and are roaming around the cabin. It's important that pets are constrained to prevent them from affecting your ability to drive safely. Children should also be buckled and stay occupied with snacks and activities.
Drivers also take their focus off the road when they adjust the air or the radio. It only takes a few seconds for a crash to occur, making it necessary to pull over to a safe spot to adjust the settings on the dashboard.
Eating and drinking may be legal and convenient, but this also makes it challenging to operate the vehicle safely. It can cause you to take your hands off the wheel and look down as you take your next bite.
Daydreaming is another contributor to distracted driving and leads to 62 percent of distracted driving accidents. Applying make-up is extremely common and causes many women to focus more on the rearview mirror instead of on the road. It's best to do this while you're parked in a safe spot to avoid crashing into a car in front of you.
Many people also get into accidents as they smoke while driving, whether they're reaching for another cigarette or are attempting to light it. Others are at a higher risk of accidents when they're emotional.
What Are The 4 Types Of Distractions While Driving?
The four types of distractions while driving include visual, manual, cognitive, and auditory.
Visual distractions occur when the driver takes their eyes off the road and focuses their attention on something else in the car. This includes reading a magazine, texting, or reading billboards. Visual distractions cause the driver to take their eyes off the road for an average of 4.6 seconds.
Auditory distractions include babies crying or a pet barking in the car, making it difficult to give your full attention to how you're driving. Many crashes involving distracted drivers are due to the actions of other passengers.
Manual distractions are also common and occur when you take both hands off the wheel to open a water bottle or change the radio station. This can prevent you from having as much control of the vehicle and can increase the risk of a collision.
Cognitive distractions mean that your attention is on something else and that your focus is not on the way that you're operating the vehicle. It includes talking on a phone or talking to other people in the vehicle. Eliminating risky behaviors is crucial to change behaviors on our nation's roads and reducing distracted driving.