If you consider what causes car accidents, you’ll see alcohol consumption as a leader. However, distracted driving causes more wrecks than anything else. That’s because it’s a fairly broad category, and several driving behaviors fit into it.
The NHTSA says distracted driving killed 3,100-plus people in 2020, and that’s typical if you consider the yearly number. With distracted driving killing thousands in the US every year, you should know the main factors that cause it.
We’ll discuss some right now. If you drive frequently, you should ensure these things don’t distract you. By avoiding these problematic behaviors, you make car wrecks and injuries less likely.
Nearly everyone owns and carries a smartphone in 2023. Some people still resist that urge, but even members of older generations usually have one now. They’re so convenient, and if you ever see an accident or sustain an injury, you can use them and contact the authorities.
Smartphones distract many drivers, though. Maybe someone gets a text message while driving. When they hear that chime, they can’t resist looking. Perhaps it’s someone important.
You should not let your smartphone distract you while driving. Texting or talking while driving can obviously distract you, and if you let your eyes wander for just a moment, you can cause a wreck.
You can turn off your phone while driving or keep it in your pocket and out of view. If someone texts or calls you, you can pull over and respond. Only do so when you’re out of traffic with the engine off.
You might have someone in the passenger’s seat beside you while driving. You may also have some passengers in the backseat. Maybe you have some family members with you, or perhaps you have friends or coworkers you’re giving a ride.
You should not let your passengers distract you. Maybe they’re talking, or singing, or laughing and carrying on if you have kids.
No matter what they’re doing, you must keep your eyes on the road ahead at all times. If you turn around or glance over, you can cause a wreck at that moment. If you’re having a heated conversation, wait till you pull over and turn off the engine. Winning an argument might seem important, but driving safely should always take priority.
Food and Drinks
You might also visit a Wendy’s or a Burger King. You might have a favorite fast-food meal that tempts you every lunch hour.
You can visit a drive-through any time you like, but once you have your food, you should not eat it while driving. The smell might tantalize you when it’s in the car, but if you try eating your lunch or dinner while operating a vehicle, that’s a disaster in the making.
You might sip a drink with a straw while sitting at a red light, but other than that, wait until you reach your destination before enjoying your meal. You won’t cause an accident that way.
Billboards and Benches
You might see a billboard with a provocative slogan or advertisement on it. Maybe the local car crash lawyer has a fascinating ad campaign, and it’s grabbing your attention while driving past.
You may also see a bus stop bench with an ad on it. Maybe there’s a slogan using humor that pulls you in. The best ad campaigns can get your attention, even without your approval.
You should use your peripheral vision when passing bus stops and billboards. You might get an idea of what you’re seeing, but you should not turn and stare. At that point, you’re distracted, and the next thing you know, you might hit a car ahead that stops suddenly.
You might have satellite radio in the car. You can get it without paying much these days, and maybe you have hundreds of stations.
You might have some favorites, and you can choose between them by pressing the different buttons. You may have several presets, including classic rock, country, rap, jazz, and so forth.
If a song comes on that you don’t like very much, you might feel like you should change the station. You can do that, but wait till you’ve either stopped at a red light or when you’ve parked the car. If you try switching the station while in stop-and-go traffic, you might cause an accident, and you’ll certainly feel it wasn’t worth it, even if an annoying song by a band you don’t like came on.