Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, and part of the risk is that it takes many forms. People often do not realize just how distracted they are. Many of the risky activities are common things that it feels like everyone does, so people assume it's safe until it leads to an accident.
To better understand these risks, here are five top causes of distracted driving:
1. Texting and driving
Perhaps nothing is as dangerous as texting, when considering driving distractions. Someone who starts texting takes at least one hand off of the steering wheel, looks away from the road and thinks about the conversation being held. It's a mental, physical and visual distraction.
2. Dealing with children
Parents face serious distractions from their children. A crying child creates a mental distraction even if the parent does not do anything to actively comfort the child. However, many parents turn around to talk to the kids, hand out snacks or pick up dropped toys. This increases the distraction level substantially.
3. Drinking coffee
People often grab a cup of coffee on the way to work or to stay awake during a late-night drive. As common as it is, you need to drink a hot liquid very carefully, which often means taking your eyes off of the road. On top of that, a spill can be catastrophic. Spilled coffee has caused car accidents as people react instinctively to avoid serious burns.
4. Eating lunch
Eating behind the wheel is similarly distracting, especially with relatively messy foods like hamburgers and tacos. Of course, these are some of the most common foods served in fast-food drive-thru lanes, so they're the foods people most often have in the car with them. It is far safer to stop for lunch, eat and then get back on the road.
5. Using a GPS
The GPS can be incredibly helpful, but looking away from the road to read the screen can distract a driver. Even listening to audio directions is a distraction, as the driver tries to focus on what to do next instead of the traffic around the car. Furthermore, people sometimes react to GPS directions without properly considering things like traffic conditions, weather conditions or road construction. Blindly following the device can lead to accidents.
These are just five examples, but they really help to show how common distractions are and how many everyday activities lead to accidents. This is part of the reason that accidents continue to be a leading cause of injury and death even with the development of safety-related traffic laws and new technology.
If you do get hurt in an accident, you may deserve financial compensation. Make sure you know what legal steps to take.