When you are behind the wheel, maintaining a safe speed, checking your mirrors, remaining alert for hazards around you and other tasks often require a great deal of focus. Distracted drivers, on the other hand, may have difficulty driving safely or protecting the safety of others on the roadway. What commonly distracts people while they drive?
Smartphones can bring a world of information to our fingertips, but these devices can also create significant distractions for drivers. Phone calls, texting, checking email, adjusting navigation and even looking up information all take a driver’s attention and eyes away from the road and their hands away from the wheel.
In fact, the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that more than 3 percent of people use handheld devices behind the wheel. While this may seem like a relatively small number of drivers, they have a significant impact. The NSC reports that cell phone use was a factor in 14 percent of fatal distracted driving accidents.
Many drivers view eating while driving as a convenient way to ease their hunger. In a recent survey, more than half of Americans admit to eating behind the wheel on a somewhat regular basis. Around one in twenty admitted to eating while driving every day.
Unfortunately, eating behind the wheel can also be a big distraction. Not only does manipulating food take a driver’s hands off the wheel, finding that food or grabbing items that have fallen can lead them to become even more distracted.
Passengers can create a variety of distractions for drivers. Conversations may split a driver’s focus, and the movement of passengers may draw their attention away from the road. Young passengers are often even more distracting. Studies have found that children are significantly more distracting than adult passengers, and on a sixteen minute trip the average parent has their eyes off the road for more than three minutes total.
Unfortunately, even if you avoid distractions behind the wheel, other drivers may not be as focused on the task of driving. If you experience a collision with a distracted driver, you may want to explore your legal options for holding them responsible and getting financial support as you recover.