While many are aware of the dangers posed by texting or using a phone while driving, there are several lesser-known acts of distracted driving that can be equally hazardous.
Eating and Drinking
Eating or drinking while driving may seem harmless, but it diverts a driver’s attention from the road. Spills or sudden movements while handling food or beverages can lead to car accidents.
Adjusting the Radio or Climate Controls
Fiddling with the radio, air conditioning, or other controls can take away attention from the road. Precious seconds spent on adjusting these can lead to critical situations that become unavoidable.
Grooming and Makeup Application
When a driver is focused on applying makeup or grooming, their attention is divided between the mirror and the road. This means they are not fully aware of their surroundings or potential hazards. In addition, both hands should ideally be on the steering wheel at all times while driving.
Engaging in Heated Conversations
Arguments or intense discussions can be emotionally charged, impairing their judgment and decision-making abilities, making it harder to react appropriately to changing road conditions. In addition, they are less likely to notice important traffic signs, signals, or unexpected events.
Using In-Car Infotainment Systems
Modern cars are equipped with advanced infotainment systems, but interacting with them requires attention. Tasks like programming GPS, browsing music playlists, or adjusting settings should only be done when the vehicle is stationary.
Reaching for Objects
When a driver stretches or leans to reach something, it can cause their vehicle to swerve unintentionally, especially if they overcorrect. As a result, they may lose control or sideswipe another vehicle or pedestrian. It is best to keep commonly used items within easy reach or pull over safely to retrieve them.
When a driver daydreams, their mind is not fully engaged in driving. This means they may not notice essential cues on the road, such as traffic signs, signals, or the behavior of other drivers. If their mind is elsewhere, their reaction time to unexpected events can also be significantly slower. This can be crucial in situations where split-second decisions are required to avoid accidents.
Rubbernecking while driving refers to the act of slowing down or turning one’s attention away from the road to look at something of interest, often an accident, a scene, or other incidents. When a driver suddenly slows down or stops to look at something, vehicles behind them may not have sufficient time to react. This can result in rear-end collisions, especially on high-speed roads. In addition, the driver may inadvertently drift out of their lane, colliding with other vehicles or causing further accidents.
Playing Loud Music
Loud music can be highly distracting. It can drown out important sounds, such as honking horns, sirens, or the sound of approaching vehicles. This reduces a driver’s ability to react promptly to critical situations.
Using Voice Assistants
When a driver interacts with a voice assistant, their mental focus is diverted from the primary task of driving. This cognitive distraction can significantly impair their ability to react swiftly and make sound judgments, similar to conversing with a passenger.