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3 kinds of distracted driving that increase everyone’s crash risk

On Behalf of | Feb 29, 2024 | Auto Accidents

Distracted driving is a very serious safety concern on modern roads. Public awareness campaigns in recent years have helped draw attention to how dangerous it can be for someone to get behind the wheel with a mobile device in their hands.

Unfortunately, focusing exclusively on digital distraction in particular can do people a real disservice. They end up focusing on that one type of distraction instead of recognizing that any behavior that takes their attention away from traffic safety is potentially a risk. Even people who would never drive while sending a text message or recording a video for social media might let other types of distraction keep them from making safety their top priority. The following are some of the more common forms of non-digital distraction that increase someone’s risk of causing or contributing to a wreck.

Eating and drinking

The vast majority of motorists seem to have very little issue with eating a meal or drinking a coffee while driving. They don’t stop to consider how doing so requires that they take at least one hand off of the wheel or how they need to mentally and visually focus on their beverage or snack instead of on the road. Even if someone manages to eat and drink safely, they could make a major mistake, such as yanking on the steering wheel, if they spill something hot in their lap.

Talking with passengers or on the phone

Conversations can be a major source of distraction. Those who carpool with friends or coworkers may end up so engrossed in their discussions that they no longer devote their full attention to safely operating their vehicles. Even those using hands-free mobile phone systems could potentially cause crashes if they end up mentally distracted by their conversation. Children in a vehicle can also be a source of distraction even if a parent does not actively engage with them as they may fight with one another or fuss in the backseat.

Interacting with built-in devices

Many late-model vehicles now include certain built-in touchscreens ranging from digital radio systems to GPS interfaces. Many drivers make the mistake of assuming that they can use those screens safely while driving, but they are just as distracting as a personal device someone brings into the vehicle.

The safest way to behave while driving is to keep both hands on the wheel and to maintain visual and mental attention on traffic conditions at all times. Avoiding distraction and watching for signs of distracted drivers in traffic can help someone reduce their overall collision risk and minimize their likelihood of incurring liability, should a crash occur.