Distracted driving is a major cause of injuries and up to 25% of deaths. It endangers drivers, passengers, and pedestrians. A 2015 survey analyzed police report data on fatal crashes and found that these were some of the most common distractions.
Lost in Thought
Many drivers use the same route every day to and from work and driving becomes almost automatic. They think about other things rather than what’s happening right in front of them. Unfortunately, survey data indicates this behavior causes 62% of distracted driving road fatalities.
When a driver daydreams instead of focusing on the road, they cannot react quickly enough to potential or imminent dangers while traveling and may become a menace to other drivers. Issues such as rushing to your destination, fatigue, and frustration can increase your risk of collisions.
Using a Cellphone
By now most people know they shouldn’t use their cellphone while driving, but many drivers still do. Despite extensive advertising campaigns and stiff legislation in most states, many drivers die because they’re focused on their cellphone instead of the road. Many states have outlawed using any handheld device while driving including computers, games, and cameras.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests texting while driving is about six times more likely to cause an accident than drunk driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Fatality Facts sheet reports 11 teens die every day due to texting while driving.
Not Paying Attention To The Road
Checking out the driver next to you, admiring the scenery, or gawking at an accident distracts you from the road. About 7% of distracted driving deaths occur when the driver looks elsewhere, instead of focusing on what lies ahead.
Focused on Passengers
Chatting with your friends in the car also distracts you from driving responsibly. 5% of fatal crashes are a result of distractions caused by other occupants in your vehicle.
Drinking or Eating
Many commuters like to grab a coffee and a bite to eat while they travel. While it might save a few minutes, it increases your risk of accidents and death. 2% of fatal distracted driving accidents involved eating or drinking in the vehicle.
Fiddling With Devices
Devices such as a portable GPS unit or headphones accounts for another 2% of distracted driving deaths. Pull over and stop if you need to make adjustments. It only takes a moment and you’ll arrive safely.
Another 2% of distracted driving deaths occur because the driver’s fussing with the radio or air conditioning. Adjusting mirrors, seats, or other vehicle controls accounts for an additional 1%. Make these adjustments before you head out onto the road.
Animals & Insects
An enthusiastic pet or an unwelcome insect can wreak havoc when you’re driving. The survey reports 1% of distracted driving deaths occur because a moving object in your car causes you to take your eyes off the road.
Whether you’re lighting up, butting out, or trying to get your ash in the ashtray, you’re not watching the road. The survey found one percent of drivers were busy smoking when a fatal crash occurred. Yet another great reason to kick the habit!
Don’t risk serious or fatal accident. Stay focused, minimize distractions, and make sure that you maintain adequate insurance coverage, just in case.