10 Worst Driving Distractions That Could Lead to a Car Accident

Distracted driving is one of the major causes of car accidents. It could be due to something as simple as eating, drinking, talking to passengers, texting, daydreaming, or grooming.
WheelZine Staff
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Driving requires full attention and proper coordination between the mind and the body, while being aware of the surroundings. Engaging in secondary activities while driving can increase your risk of a crash. In this WheelZine article, we will list the 10 worst distractions that could lead to an accident or a near miss.
Some Facts and Statistics
❑ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving kills more than 9 people and injures more than 1000 people each day, in the United States.
❑ The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that almost 25% of all car crashes are due to using a cell phone while driving.
❑ A study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI), shows that around 80% of all car crashes and 65% of near misses are due to distracted driving.
Looking at Other Drivers
Driver looking at other side
Staring or looking at other drivers or pedestrians is a distraction that is responsible for fatal car crashes every year. Such distractions while driving can damage life and property, cause serious injuries to other passengers and drivers, and in some cases even death. So, be alert at all times and keep your focus on the road while driving.
Adjusting Car Settings
Adjusting car mirror
Avoid adjusting the mirrors, switching between radio channels, or setting and adjusting climate controls, as they can be highly distracting, resulting in the driver losing control of the vehicle. These adjustments should be made before you start your vehicle and not while driving. If you are required to do so, steer your car to a safe location and then adjust whatever is required, to avoid the risk of accidents.
Looking at the Outside Scenery
Looking outside car
Admiring a scenic view or glancing at a billboard advertisement that features pictures of attractive models can be as distracting as using cell phones, because it takes the driver's attention away from the road. Do not get caught up in such activities while driving. Park your vehicle safely along the side of the road if you wish to enjoy the sights and views of a place.
Keeping an Eye on Children
Looking at children
A study says that women drivers are more likely to keep an eye on their children and attend to their needs while driving, compared to men. If you are traveling with your children, keep them occupied with books and toys, so that they do not distract you. If you need to address their needs, do so by parking at a safe place.
Preening or Grooming
Preening person
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), female drivers (13% as compared to 4% of males) are more likely to engage in personal grooming when driving. These days people hardly have time for themselves, hence applying makeup, combing, or brushing hair have become common practices behind the wheel. Such careless behavior on the road can put other people's life at risk, which is not acceptable. Plan your time so that you can groom yourself at home, before you set out for the day.
Eating and Drinking
Eating inside car
Simple things like unwrapping food to take a bite, or sipping coffee behind the wheel can lead to dangerous consequences. Because when you are eating and driving, your focus is divided. For example, if you spill coffee or sauce on your clothes, won't you try to clean it, or look for tissues? This can divert your concentration and cause you to take your eyes off the road, which could result in an accident or a near miss. Hence, avoid such distractions and be safe on the roads.
Anger or Drowsiness
Angry man
Avoid driving when you are upset, or drowsy as you will not be able to react to situations as quickly as when you are alert. A tired mind not only weakens your judgment, but also slows down your response or reaction time, thereby enhancing the risk of a crash fourfold. So, don't let your emotions take over you when you are behind the wheel, and avoid exhibiting your rage or anger when stuck in traffic.
Talking or Singing
Talking guy
Talking and singing could interfere with your driving and slow down your response time. While simply talking or singing may not necessarily impair the driver's performance, but listening to loud music, singing along to the radio or your favorite music, or talking loudly can take your attention off the road. So, turn off the music especially when driving in bad weather conditions or unfamiliar surroundings. Engaging in a discussion or a game, also increases the possibility of an accident.
Using a Cell Phone
Using phone
According to the 2011 EuroPNStyles and Health-styles surveys analyzed by CDC, more than two-thirds i.e. 68% of US drivers aged 18 and above reported that they talked on their cell phone while driving, and 31% reported that they read or sent text messages. Reading text messages is equally dangerous as sending messages, or talking on the phone, while driving. If you don't want to risk your life as well as others, avoid using a cell phone at all costs. Besides taking your eyes and hands off the steering wheel, it can also take away your attention from the road. If you must text or call when driving, it is best to pull over to a safe location, park, and then do the needful. Safety comes first, turn off your cell phone or put it on silent mode when driving.
Daydreaming
Daydreaming
Around 62% of all fatal car crashes in the US, over the last two years, was a result of daydreaming or the driver being lost in his own thoughts. Such drivers not only risk their life but also put other drivers in a dangerous situation. Due to this, they ignore the stoplights and stop signs, or a sharp turn and apply sudden brakes, which could lead to a crash.
Thousands die every year because of drivers' neglect. Please take a step towards saving a life, avoid multitasking, and ensure that you don't get distracted while driving. To sum it all up, drive responsibly by following the simple norms of road safety and stay focused.