Many people equate texting and cell phone use with distracted driving, but in truth, there are many ways that a driver can be distracted from the road. Below, we’ve listed the 12 most common driving distractions in the United States.
- Texting or using a smartphone. The most common and most dangerous driving distraction today is mobile phone usage, from texting to surfing social media websites. Texting and driving is especially dangerous because it takes your hands away from the wheel, your eyes off of the road, and your mind off of the road.
- Talking on a cell phone. So many traffic accidents have been tied to talking on a cell phone that many states have banned it for all drivers or novice drivers. When drivers are still looking at the road, one of their hands is holding the device, and their mind may be concentrating on the conversation more than driving.
- Eating and drinking. Busy drivers sometimes eat snacks or entire meals while driving. It’s a dangerous practice that can distract from the road and slow reaction times.
- Engaging with passengers. Talking with an occupant, handing a snack to a toddler in the back seat, or even disciplining your dog are all examples of how other passengers can distract you from the road.
- Grooming. Your rearview mirror is not for your morning beauty routine. Put away all make-up, nail clippers, hair accessories, and toothbrushes until you reach your destination.
- Smoking. The act of smoking, along with related acts like lighting cigarettes, isn’t just bad for your health, it’s a danger to others on the road.
- Reading. It doesn’t matter whether you are reading your phone or a map or a novel: taking your eyes and mind off of the road to read can lead to serious accidents. If you need to read something, pull over first.
- Using a map or GPS system. It makes sense that you might be using a paper map, a GPS system or a smartphone to navigate your vehicle. But even if you use them responsibly, it can be a distraction from the road.
- Watching a video or screen. As mobile devices like phones, tablets, and portable DVD players increase in popularity, so does the rate of accidents that involve screens.
- Adjusting climate controls or other dashboard features. Although some of your car’s controls can safely be used while you are driving, they can still take your attention away from the road for a few second at a time. When traveling at high speeds, these tiny distractions can lead to serious crashes.
- Using a radio or music player. Both using the controls of a music player and listening to music/audio can serve as a distraction to driving. There is a reason many people turn down the radio in poor weather conditions: they need to focus all of their attention on the task at hand.
- Outside people and objects. Distractions aren’t just found inside your car – drivers can be distracted by what is going on out the window, too. The most common instance of this is rubbernecking: when someone is distracted by an accident on the road.
It’s impossible to live a life totally free of distraction when driving a car – chances are that you’ll listen to music or talk to your passenger. But being aware of your distractions, as well as minimizing the most dangerous distractions, can keep you significantly safer on our roads. If you or somebody you love was injured by a distracted driver, compensation may be available in the form of a personal injury lawsuit. Speak with a West Virginia car accident attorney who has experience in distracted driving cases to learn more about your legal options.