Driver distraction is amongst the leading causes of accidents in America. According to data from the NHTSA, distracted driving was responsible for over 3140 deaths on American roads in 2019 alone.
Distracted driving is commonly talking on the phone or texting while on the road. However, there is more to distracted driving than just using the phone. “No matter what you do, it takes a fraction of second of distraction to result in an accident, especially when a vehicle is at high speed,” says personal injury lawyer Lawrence Buckfire, attorney at Buckfire Law.
The following are some of the most common distractions that can result in an accident.
You may have expected the mobile phone to top the list of driver distracters. That is not the case. According to a report of the Insurance Journal, the biggest cause of distraction in drivers is getting lost in thoughts long enough to forget you are on the road. The report cites getting lost in thought as responsible for over 60 percent of all auto accident fatalities resulting from distracted driving.
If your vehicle has driver-assist technology, it would be good to activate it when going on long trips to compensate for the instances you get lost in thought. You could also choose to take a break if fatigue resulting from a long drive is the cause of your wandering thoughts.
The U.S. National Safety Council estimations claim that cell phone-related crashes are responsible for 27 percent of auto accidents in America. The mobile phone has evolved over the years, with today’s smartphone having lots of features that beg for attention.
The most dangerous activities involving a phone are texting, checking your social media, or browsing while driving. Talking is not safe either.
According to experts, even using a hands-free device significantly affects your reaction time. The safest thing you can do while on the road is to put your phone in flight mode and only use it when you must and when you are not driving.
Sights and Sounds
Surroundings such as landscapes, accidents, and billboards can also be a major source of distraction. It is estimated that almost all drivers spend nearly half their time on the road with their eyes focused on other things other than the road.
While there would be no way of keeping your eyes from admiring or seeing your surroundings, it is essential to be alert. You need to be even more cautious, especially if there is anything that can distract other road users at the same time.
Fiddling With Vehicle Devices
As technology finds its way into today’s vehicles, the more distractions there are for the driver. The NHTSA requires vehicle manufacturers not to install devices that distract drivers while on the road.
Even without sophisticated devices, some devices that have been in cars for a long time, such as the stereo, AC, and newer ones like GPS, can take the driver’s eye from the road long enough to cause an accident.
Other causes of distraction can be other vehicle occupants. These include children squabbling on the back seat, passengers involving the driver in a heated conversation, or an unrestrained pet.