Distracted driving has become one of the top causes of preventable motor vehicle collisions. Thanks to awareness campaigns, most drivers now understand that texting, emailing or manually entering information into their phones while they drive is a form of dangerous distraction.
However, many drivers engage in numerous activities that are as distracting as phones every day. What are some of the most common sources of distraction at the wheel?
Food and beverages
Whether you have a giant cup of coffee to help you stay awake as you drive four hours or you routinely eat breakfast on the way into the office, having a meal or a drink while you drive may seem like a perfectly safe thing to do. After all, manufacturers build cup holders right into the vehicle.
However, you need to take at least one hand off the wheel to eat, and if you spill something on yourself, you might swerve the vehicle or temporarily stop focusing on the drive.
Conversations and music
Perhaps you call your mother on the way home from work several times a week just to check in on her at her retirement home. Meeting you talk with your co-workers because you carpool every day.
Conversations with others can be a serious mental distraction. If they are physically present in the vehicle, it can become a visual distraction, as you glance over at them or in the mirror to check their facial expressions and body language. Singing along to the radio or having an emotional reaction to talk radio can also be dangerous distractions.
Vehicle controls and built-in devices
The GPS screen in the center of your console and the radio buttons require that you take your hand off of the wheel and your visual focus off of the road to use them while you drive. They can be as dangerous as your phone even though they are part of the vehicle itself.
Internal distraction is a serious risk, as you need to actively watch the road around you for risk factors or miss something and cause a crash.
Doing your best to avoid distractions will mean that you will hopefully not be the one at fault if you ever get into a serious car crash.