When people think of distracted driving, often they imagine teenage drivers texting or using social media while behind the wheel. While those are two major reasons for distracted driving (and can lead to auto accidents resulting in serious injury or even fatalities), they are not the only reasons. In fact, many of the tasks drivers complete daily while behind the wheel, that may seem routine or safe, are very dangerous. Below are other causes of distracted driving and ways to avoid these situations and be a safe driver.
Hungry? Watch out for the Drive-Thru
It may be tempting to grab a bite to eat on-the-go when you are running to or from work, carpooling kids to activities, and/or on long road-trips. However, hitting the drive-thru and then continuing your trip can distract you from driving safely.
Did you know… according to the National Highway Safety Commission, eating and driving increases the likelihood of crashes by 80 percent? In addition, 65 percent of near-miss crashes are caused by drivers who are eating on the go.
How? Drivers need both hands on the wheel to be able to react quickly to changing traffic situations. If you are in a hurry, and need to grab a bite to eat at the drive-thru, it’s best to park your car in the restaurant parking lot and take 10 minutes to eat your burger and fries before returning to your trip. Those 10 minutes can save your life – and the lives of others.
Applying Makeup or Brushing Your Hair Can Wait
The rear-view mirror in your car is meant to check the area surrounding your car for other drivers and vehicles, not for making sure lipstick is still fresh, or your beard is in place! Even if you think a quick glance in the mirror – or a brief reach for lip balm is okay, it is still distracting you from driving.
Accidents caused by grooming are 100% avoidable and preventable. Plan ahead by giving yourself enough time for your grooming routine before you leave the house, and keep those items out of reach to avoid any temptation. Just think – you will look good showing up at your destination in one piece, rather than with bumps and bruises from an accident.
Chatting with Passengers – Stay Focused
Passengers can distract drivers from keeping their eyes on the road, and their hands on the wheel. According to research by the American Council on Science and Health, conversations with passengers can negatively impact driver awareness. Reaction times, lane position, speed and distance from other vehicles are all worse for drivers in active conversations with passengers compared to drivers who were not engaged with those in the vehicle or who were driving alone. While staying completely out of conversations is most likely not an option, it is important to be aware of your surroundings while talking to others in the car. It is also important to inform passengers that they are too loud, or behaving in a way that is causing you to lose focus from driving. In addition, if you are in a heated conversation, pull over to a safe place to finish the conversation while the vehicle is not in motion.
Remember, auto accidents caused by distracted driving are preventable. Help reduce the number of accidents and related injuries by immediately committing to attentive driving and spreading the word to others to do the same.
If you or a loved one are injured, whether due to an auto accident or a personal injury caused by other means, reach out immediately for medical help, and get an experienced accident attorney on your side to protect your rights. Reach out to Dale E. Anstine today to learn more. With offices in York and Gettysburg, our team is proud to protect the injured across the Central Pennsylvania community. Consultations are always free, we’re available 24/7, and there’s no fee unless we win for you.