Drivers must avoid distractions while behind the wheel to keep the city streets, county roads and highways safe. Distracted driving can lead to tens of thousands of motor vehicle collisions each year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has reported that more than 3,000 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2019 alone. Unfortunately, there are numerous distractions that are so commonplace, they aren’t considered dangerous activities.
Here are five distractions that might catch drivers by surprise:
- Your music: While many people believe that listening to an energetic playlist can help them stay focused and alert on the road, studies suggest quite the opposite. In fact, one study showed that teens who listened to softer music from a playlist they did not create showed a 20% decrease in deficient driving behaviors.
- Your emotions: This might be the last thing on your mind as you get into the vehicle, but emotions can play a key role in your safety. Drivers who were observably angry, sad or agitated behind the wheel were nearly 10 times as likely to be involved in a collision.
- Your children: Children as passengers are a necessary part of many people’s driving habits. Unfortunately, drivers can allow them to be distractions. From breaking up arguments to passing out snacks from the front seat, one study found that on average parent drivers took their eyes off the road for more than three minutes during a 16-minute drive.
- Your pets: Chauffeuring your pet to the park, a veterinarian or simply running errands could be an essential part of your day, but it can also be a dangerous distraction. Pets can jump back and forth between seats, sit on your lap or lick your face while you are trying to safely navigate traffic.
- Your bladder: While most drivers prefer to hold it until they’ve reached their destination rather than stopping at a rest area, one study found that having to use the restroom can impair a driver’s judgment and focus to the same degree as having a .05 blood-alcohol level.
Distracted driving collisions can lead to catastrophic injuries such as brain damage, paralysis and amputation. Severe collisions could lead to the death of vehicle occupants. Do not hesitate to discuss your vehicle wreck with an experienced attorney.