Think you know all of the ways that drivers get distracted behind the wheels of their vehicles? Think again.
While there are three basic types of distractions that affect people (visual, manual and cognitive), there are virtually endless variations of specific distractions. Some of the more unusual ones include:
- Driving while mad (or sad): It may feel cathartic to burn some rubber when you’re angry or upset, but you increase the chances you’ll end up in a wreck by as much as 10 times.
- Letting your dog ride along: Man’s best friend can be a real handful when you’re in the car, and the dog is unrestrained — and it’s no time to offer treats or pets to your pup.
- Singing to your favorite tune: Maybe you’ve joked about needing to turn down the radio, so you can pay attention to the road — except that’s really no joke. Loud music has been associated with an increase in driving mistakes.
- Hands-free phones and systems: “Hands-free” is supposed to be the better option for electronic or phone use in the car — except giving a voice command or a series of them will keep you distracted for up to 27 seconds after you’re finished.
- Needing a bathroom break: You simply cannot concentrate on the road when you’re mostly thinking about how far it is to the next available bathroom.
- Grabbing food through a drive-thru: Unless you leave your food in the bag until you get home, you’re probably far more distracted then you realize.
Distracted driving is a national problem in this country — and almost everyone could do better. Despite your efforts, however, you can’t stop other drivers from making bad choices. If you end up injured because of a distracted driver, it may be time to seek legal assistance.