Did you ever fix your car’s audio settings or eat a meal while driving, thinking that these are completely harmless behaviors? Think again! Some seemingly safe things behind the wheel can actually turn into serious distractions that may cause injuries and even death. Even a split second of inattentiveness can take your concentration away from driving, which is why distracted driving is one of the leading causes of crashes around the world. So, what exactly are these life-threatening disruptions?
Today, I am providing a list of the most dangerous driving distractions (in no particular order) that can jeopardize the safety of the driver, passengers, and others on the road. Make sure you never do these things while driving.
1. Using A Cell Phone
It should come as no surprise that using your cell phone while driving is extremely dangerous. This bad driving habit can increase the probability of a car crash by four times. Using your phone includes listening, talking, dialing, and worst of all, texting. Checking, reading, or sending text messages while driving is specifically the riskiest mobile-related distraction. The act combines all three forms of distractions; visual distractions take your eyes off the road, manual distractions remove your hands from the wheel, and cognitive distractions shift your mind away from driving. At the time, you might feel as if briefly checking a text message won’t do any harm. After all, it’s just a few seconds, right? Well, taking your eyes off the road for even five seconds is more lethal than driving while intoxicated. That’s why authorities introduce numerous road-safety programs and use road cameras to monitor cell phone usage. They employ different mobile camera locations to ensure drivers do not use, or even hold a cell phone when they’re driving.
2. Adjusting Your Car’s Settings
It’s also very common for drivers to adjust settings within the vehicle, not realizing the risks that come from these simple tasks. Switching a radio station, adjusting your air conditioning or heat settings, fixing your rear-view mirror, repositioning your seat, or even fiddling with window settings all seem like innocent behaviors, right? Although they are simple tasks to perform, they can be extremely dangerous if you attempt to do them while driving. The best option for carrying out these adjustments is to do them before you head off on the road. In case, you’re already driving, stop somewhere safe first.
The passengers in the car can also distract you big time. Generally, talking to other people in the vehicle or looking at them while you’re driving can shift your focus from the road. This poses a greater risk for young drivers and the chances of accidents increase when they have two or more occupants with them.
4. Eating and Drinking
Eating while driving is a needless risk that you should not take willingly. If you need to grab some food, do it before you drive. As for drinking, it’s obvious that you should not consume alcoholic drinks behind the wheel. But, we’re considering shipping non-alcoholic drinks, as well. Drinking anything while driving takes your attention away from the road.
It might seem that smoking doesn’t require too much concentration while driving. But, it is also a life-threatening driving behavior. This includes smoking itself along with any gestures related to lighting up and emptying ashes in a tray.
6. Pets, Insects, Or Other Moving Objects
If you own a cat or dog, you’d know very well how difficult it is to manage an overexcited or irritated pet while driving. I advise you to avoid traveling alone with your pet. Ask someone to accompany you to cater to your pet’s needs while you keep your complete focus on the road. Similarly, insects that get stuck inside the car and move around incessantly can be a huge distraction. Other moving objects such as papers or wrappers flying around the vehicle can also take your attention away from driving. If this happens to you, stop your car right away and get the moving distractions out before you get back on the road.
7. Distractions from Outside
As if there weren’t enough distractions within the car, you also must beware of avoiding external disruptions. Interruptionsoutside the vehicle include other drivers, pedestrians, billboards, shops, and other unexpected things you may encounter on the road. Apart from distracting people and objects, you might become interested in something going on outside. Events like off-road drama or an accident site demand your attention naturally, but they’ll cause you to take your eyes off the road, which is very dangerous.
8. Getting Lost in Thought
Daydreaming, having brain fog, or becoming detached from reality are all dangerous mental distractions while driving. You always need a hundred percent of your attention on the road, so being in a lost mental state is one of the riskiest driving behaviors out there. To avoid this driving disturbance, make sure you’re in a good mental position before getting behind the wheel.
This content is brought to you by Anees Saddique.