Distracted driving is one of the most common and concerning traffic safety risks on the modern road. The rise in popularity of mobile devices and social media has led to people using their phones more than ever before, including while traveling.
To many people, distracted driving is synonymous with mobile phone use. If you aren’t texting or reading an email at the wheel, you might assume that you are being safe and avoiding distracted driving. However, there are other common activities that people perform at the wheel that will distract them and put them at risk of causing a crash.
- Trying to squeeze their daily routine into their commute
The more time you spend traveling to and from your place of employment, the more you may try to make use of that time. Some people will finish dressing themselves or eat their breakfast while heading in to start their day. Other people might do far more involved activities, like applying their makeup or even shaving their faces while driving. Drinking, eating and grooming are all forms of distraction that increase your risk of making a mistake at the wheel.
- Becoming too focused on screens other than their phones
According to independent research involving self-reported practices by drivers, more than half of respondents said they thought it was safer to use a GPS on their phone than to text. In reality, both activities involve taking your hands off the wheel and eyes off of the road.
The same is true for built-in vehicle screens and standalone GPS units. In fact, even your video could be a risk for distraction if you take your hands off the wheel frequently to search for a new station.
- Interacting with passengers or someone on the phone
It is the mental focus of a conversation that makes it dangerous, not the system you used to communicate. A person can be in your vehicle and still cause a distraction if your conversation is engaging or emotional. The same is true of people you communicate with through hands-free devices. Conversations can be a major source of distraction and easily lead to someone taking their eyes off the road to look at the other person or their phone.
Understanding that destruction takes many forms can help you do your best to avoid it whenever you are the one driving. Unfortunately, you can’t stop other people from making these mistakes at the wheel. However, if you suffer injuries or property damage in a crash caused by a distracted driver, you could potentially hold them accountable for their actions through an insurance claim or civil lawsuit.