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3 kinds of distracted driving that people often overlook

On Behalf of | Apr 26, 2024 | Distracted Driving

The hazards of distracted driving have become relatively well-known in recent years. The proliferation of mobile technology has forced people to recognize how risky it can be to handle a mobile phone or tablet while operating a vehicle.

Pressure from law enforcement authorities and public awareness campaigns can help deter some people from distracted driving involving their phones. However, people may still engage in other forms of distracted driving without realizing how dangerous their choices could actually be. There are multiple forms of distraction that can reduce someone’s safety in traffic and increase their risk of a crash. The three forms of distraction below are common despite how dangerous they can be.

Eating or drinking at the wheel

Especially if someone has a long commute to work, they may try to find a way to use that time productively. The decision to have a meal on the way to work or when traveling to see a client could make someone feel like they have lost less time to their commute obligations. Unfortunately, consuming food and beverages creates a variety of different distractions. People become mentally distracted and take their hands off the wheel. If they spill or drop something, that may worsen their distraction.

Daydreaming or cognitive distraction

Driving on the same streets day after day seems dull and uneventful, so people often focus their mental energy on other things, such as their upcoming vacation or their to-do list when they get home from work for the day. Cognitive distraction is all but impossible to prove or detect in others, but it can very quickly lead to someone causing a crash. People who do not mentally focus on their surroundings in traffic put themselves and others at elevated risk of a collision.

Conversations on the phone or with passengers

Rules about mobile phone use while driving often provide loopholes for those using hands-free technology. Unfortunately, those permissive policies do not necessarily have a basis in psychological science. Any conversation can become mentally distracting to a driver. They might take their hands off of the wheel to make gestures while talking. If the conversation is with an occupant of the vehicle, a driver may feel compelled to look over at the passenger or make eye contact with them through the rearview mirror. Those choices can affect someone’s ability to monitor their surroundings and could very well be the distraction that causes a major motor vehicle collision.

Actively avoiding all forms of distracted driving – whenever possible – can help someone reduce their chances of causing a crash. Drivers may need to file an insurance claim or possibly a civil lawsuit if a distracted driver causes a crash that inspires injuries and other expenses, which is one more reason why it’s important to stay fully alert and engaged at the wheel.