Public awareness campaigns and changing laws have helped people better understand how dangerous certain behaviors can be. For example, ever since the popularization of smartphones, there has been a lot of focus on screen-related distracted driving. The average driver recognizes that it is unsafe to look down at their phone to read or send a text message while driving.
Quite a few people might assume that as long as they do not text at the wheel, they have avoided driving distractions that could put them and others at risk. However, distracted driving actually involves a variety of different behaviors that affect someone’s mental focus, the placement of their hands or where they look.
The three actions below are all forms of distraction that people might think are less of a safety concern than using a mobile phone, but they can still increase someone’s risk of causing or otherwise being involved in a crash.
Eating and drinking at the wheel
Perhaps someone has a long commute, so they eat their breakfast on their way to their job each day. Maybe they have a habit of grabbing lunch on the way to client meetings in the afternoon. Eating and drinking at the wheel distract people mentally and take their hands off the wheel. Eating or drinking can also lead to spills, which could lead to erratic maneuvers.
Talking hands-free or to passengers
Even though people know it is dangerous to use their mobile devices to text someone, they may feel more confident about calling them and talking on the phone. Conversations can be mentally distracting, especially if they touch on emotional topics. When someone talks to a passenger, they may try to make eye contact with the other person, which will only exacerbate their mental distraction. Glitches with technology can also prove distracting if someone tries to use a hands-free system to talk while driving.
Adjusting vehicle settings or reaching for objects
Quite a few people think nothing of entering a new destination into their vehicle’s GPS device while driving. People tend to assume that built-in screens are safer to use than mobile devices, which is not necessarily true. Other people may scroll through their radio stations, adjust their mirrors or otherwise manipulate their vehicles’ systems while actively driving.
Generally speaking, people should not attempt to multitask while driving, as doing so will significantly increase their risk of a wreck. Avoiding all forms of distraction, not just mobile devices, will enhance someone’s overall safety on the road and the safety of those with and around them.