When you go behind the wheel, it can be difficult to tune out what is happening in your surroundings. Outside your vehicle, a flashy billboard or accident scene can sidetrack you. And inside your car, you might eat meals or make phone calls, both of which can distract you from the road ahead.
About nine people die every day in distracted driving accidents. And it is often everyday day tasks, thoughts and activities that cause injury and death in these types of accidents.
According to statistics gathered and reported by The Zebra, here are four common distractions to be mindful of:
1. Cell phone use
In a survey The Zebra conducted early this year, nearly 30% of respondents said they text while they drive. The problem with picking up your phone to text is that it takes both physical action and mental energy, making it doubly distracting. Instead of feeling pressured to check a notification on your phone, it’s important to tell yourself that whatever you want to respond to will be there once you complete your route.
2. Eating and drinking
Eating food or taking a sip of a drink might seem manageable to do while driving, as taking care of basic needs can feel like a natural, mindless activity. However, drivers increase their chance of colliding with another vehicle threefold by consuming sustenance while cruising through traffic. So, while staying nourished and hydrated is essential, you shouldn’t fuel up while trying to drive.
3. Reaching for items
Reaching for items, like your phone, lip balm or dials on your dashboard can be even more dangerous than eating or drinking. In fact, when drivers move their body, lift their hands off the wheel and engage in a mini scavenger hunt, they are 800 times more likely to get in a crash. Queuing music, making necessary phone calls or finishing your makeup routine ahead of your drive may save your life.
4. Driving with a pet
Driving with your pet is often a necessity if you plan to spend several hours outside of your home. But there are ways it can quickly become hazardous for you and your furry friend. A sharp turn can cause your pet to slide around unsafely. And if you don’t utilize a restraint system or kennel, your cat or dog might obstruct your front window view by jumping in your lap or block your rear view by causing commotion in the back seat.
A few simple changes in the choices you make behind the wheel may greatly increase your safety.