Most drivers know that in today’s world, phones are one of the most dangerous distractions when you’re on the road. Whether you’re texting, adjusting your GPS or talking, using a phone while driving is distracted driving that can result in an accident. But, phones are by no means the only distractions that can affect you while driving. Any distractions are dangerous and there are distractions abound, even when you’re busy traveling in your car.
Annually, about 3500 people die due to distracted driving. In addition, 391,000 people are injured. This is highly preventable, because you do have some control over how distracted you are. What kinds of distractions are we talking about? Read on to learn about 5 dangerous driving distractions that aren’t phones:
1. Having an Emotional Outburst
Have you gotten into an argument while driving? While your hands and feet may be fully occupied with driving, your head has left the car and is busily engaging in a fight. If you get into a heated discussion, especially an emotional one, consider pulling over until you sort things out. Avoid distracted driving, keep your head in the game too!
2. Reading or Writing
Believe it or not reading and writing while driving is another common distraction. Sign those permission slips at home or when you’ve arrived at your destination. And even if you haven’t read the report before the meeting, you’ll survive. When you’re busy reading and writing, your brain, eyes and hands might be off the road, resulting in a dangerous situation that could get you in an accident.
3. Reaching for Something
Trying to grab your purse or wallet on the floor of the passenger’s side? Reaching to give your child a toy in the back seat? When your hands and brain are focused on reaching for something, you aren’t paying attention to the road. Reaching for something can also include trying to kill a mosquito or shove a fly out the window. Either delegate this task to another passenger or wait until you can stop. Driving while distracted is not something you want to do.
4. Adjusting Climate Control or the Radio
While you may feel like fiddling with these dials is really part of driving, it’s not. You brain wanders off with your hands to try to find your favorite song or adjust the A/C. Instead, find your favorite radio station before heading out on the road and set your climate ahead of time. If you need to adjust, wait for a traffic light or pull over.
Having breakfast on the go? Avoid getting in this time trap because your hands and eyes will shift from the road to your food, creating a dangerous distraction. In today’s busy world it can be tough to always have meals sitting down at home or the office, but it’s worth it for your safety. If you must, arrive a few minutes late after you’ve had a snack rather than compromising your safety by eating while driving.
Anything that you do while driving that’s not driving is a distraction and potentially dangerous, but the above are some of the worst offenders associated with a higher risk of an accident. Remember to take driving seriously and give it the attention it deserves. As a result, you, your passengers and other drivers on the road will be safer.