Distracted driving is a broad term, but it generally refers to anything a driver does that pulls their attention away from the main job of driving a vehicle safely. For example, mobile devices often keep drivers from paying attention to the road.
But it’s not just texting and driving that causes accidents. Part of the problem with distraction is that it comes in so many forms. It can be hard for drivers to avoid all of them, all the time.
9 common kinds of distractions
Some of the most common examples of distracted driving include:
- Using a Smartphone: Even when not sending or reading text messages, drivers may be tempted to start browsing the internet, using social media or performing any other smartphone activity while driving.
- Making a Phone Call: Holding a conversation on a handheld device can still distract a driver’s attention from the road. Talking often feels less distracting, but is still dangerous.
- Eating or Drinking: Handling food or beverages while driving means the driver isn’t watching the road or holding the wheel.
- Grooming: Applying makeup, fixing hair, shaving or other grooming activities can divert a driver’s attention and compromise safety.
- Using GPS or Navigation Systems: Programming a GPS or adjusting navigation settings while driving can distract a driver’s visual and cognitive attention. Ideally, drivers should always set up the GP before leaving the driveway.
- Adjusting the Controls: Changing radio stations, adjusting temperature controls, or interacting with in-car infotainment systems means a driver isn’t watching traffic.
- Interacting with Passengers: Conversations with other people in the car can be highly distracting, especially for parents driving with their children.
- Daydreaming or Getting Lost in Thought: Mentally zoning out or being preoccupied with other thoughts instead of concentrating on driving can be a form of distraction.
- Reaching for Objects: Trying to reach for items inside the vehicle, such as personal belongings, snacks, or items that have fallen, can take a driver’s eyes off the road and hands off the wheel.
Distracted driving makes it significantly more likely that a crash will occur. It endangers drivers, along with any passengers, pedestrians and other travelers who are sharing the road. It’s crucial for drivers to prioritize safety by focusing solely on driving when behind the wheel and avoiding any activities that may divert their attention away from the road.