Distracted driving is a deeply pervasive problem in this country. Despite all of the reminders out there asking drivers to focus on the road, distracted driving is still behind thousands of injuries and roughly 8% of all fatal accidents every year.
Cellular devices catch a lot of the blame for distracted driving accidents, and there’s no question that they do play a part – but some distractions are so normalized that people don’t even realize how dangerous they are. With that in mind, these are several bad habits behind the wheel you should avoid.
Drinking coffee, tea or soda as you drive
Almost everybody does it – and passenger vehicles have cup holders for a reason, right? Even though grabbing a caffeinated beverage when you’re on the go is pretty common behavior, it’s actually still very dangerous. Lifting a cup to your mouth may seem pretty automatic, but it still requires a modicum of your attention and one hand off the wheel. That can limit your ability to control your vehicle, especially if there’s a sudden emergency where a quick response is needed. Plus, hot or cold, spilling your drink can make you involuntarily react in a way that causes your car to veer out of control.
Eating your lunch on the go
This is another behavior that’s become acceptable over time thanks to busy lifestyles and hectic times. Just like drinking a beverage, however, trying to grab a bite while you’re in motion can be disastrous. Unwrapping a sandwich, for example, may require far more of your attention and the use of both hands, which definitely makes it harder to focus on and respond to traffic or changing road conditions.
Adjusting your music while in motion
It can be irritating when a song hits the radio that you really hate or what seems like endless ads are playing, but try to ignore it until you’re able to stop somewhere and safely change the station. Even if you have a voice-controlled stereo system, it’s better to turn the whole thing off than start searching for a playlist or a better station. The cognitive distraction caused by the search for the perfect driving music can cause you to miss traffic signals and signals from other drivers.
You can do your part to keep the roadways safer, but there’s no guarantee that you won’t end up in a wreck with a distracted driver. Learning more about your options to recover fair compensation for your injuries and losses can help you to safeguard your interests under these circumstances.