The Most Dangerous Distracted Driving Habits

Today, multitasking is considered to be a positive quality. Well, maybe it is a positive quality in every other field. But it is something that should not be mixed with driving. Driving a car requires the driver to take a lot of responsibility. A simple mistake can turn out to be fatal for the driver and the other motorists as well.

Worldwide statistics suggest that distracted driving is responsible for a large proportion of accidents and casualties on the roads. Nobody crashes their vehicle into something intentionally. Crashes are mostly caused due to lack of concentration or some mechanical failure. We really can’t do anything about mechanical failures, but crashes caused due to distraction can be avoided for sure. How? Simply by concentrating more on the road and being aware of the surroundings while driving.

Top 13 Dangerous Distracted Driving Habits:

‘Thirteen’ has always been termed as an unlucky number. Although distraction may be caused by a number of reasons, here we are about to discuss about 13 unlucky and most perilous habits that we usually follow while driving.

  1. Texting: Texting while driving - definitely one of the most dangerous habits. It takes about an average time of five seconds to send a quick message. But a lot can change in those five seconds as it attracts complete attention of the driver for that brief period of time. The driver is bound to concentrate his/her vision on the keyboard and screen while texting. A study suggests that a driver is 23 times more likely to crash if he/she is texting while driving.
  2. Eating and drinking: Eating and drinking behind the wheel is another common practice and a deadly one as well. Though it seems that it does not require much attention but eating and drinking does affect the mental state of the driver while driving. Let us see what can probably go wrong in this case:
    • The driver might spill something hot (more likely a beverage like coffee) that might lead to a bad burn as well as loss of control of the vehicle.
    • A messy food item (like a burger) will need more care as there are high chances of the food being spilt all over the driver’s clothes and the car.
    • One-handed driving essentially means lesser control on the steering wheel and gear shifter. Thus, it involves more risk.
  3. Grooming: Drivers often indulge in grooming themselves while driving. Be it shaving or trimming the beard or applying makeup. The common convict in both cases is the ‘shortage of time’. But grooming can cause distraction which might lead to a mishap.
  4. Keeping an eye on kids or pets: Drivers often travel with kids or pets in the car. When the child in the backseat starts to act up, it is obvious that the driver will turn around to check on the kid. But while the child is being attended, who is keeping an eye on the road? This is what increases the chances of a crash. Same applies for pets as well.
  5. Reading or surfing the internet: Yet another common habit of most motorists these days. With the advent of smartphones, in-car internet services, and advanced infotainment systems, drivers often indulge in the act of engaging themselves by reading and surfing through the public domains. Yes, it is very convenient but very dangerous as well.
  6. Setting up the perfect playlist: Music-on-the-go is a popular choice among commuters. Although browsing through a personal collection on an mp3 player or smartphone to set the right playlist for the drive is not harmful but browsing through the playlist while driving can invite a mishap. The driver has to concentrate on the screen to ascertain what he or she is playing and that distraction can cause a crash as well. Browsing through a pre-saved playlist or an internet radio station is more perilous than scanning through radio stations on an integrated FM, AM, or  satellite radio.
  7. Playing around with in-car gadgets and infotainment system: Modern cars are packed with a number of high-tech gadgets and state-of-the-art infotainment systems. Those are designed for the driver’s convenience but drivers have to realize their own limitations. Fiddling with the gadgets while driving is a dangerous practice and if the drivers do not draw a line on its usage, it is highly likely that they will end up crashing.
  8. Navigating: Navigation system is a boon for drivers. It allows the driver to drive to an unfamiliar destination without bothering about stopping every now and then to ask for guidance regarding the route. Although most navigation systems do not allow the driver to program the system while the vehicle is on the move, some systems do. However, it is very risky to program the navigation system while driving the car as it needs a lot of attention and visual attendance as well.
  9. Dropped items: Reaching out for dropped items is a major distraction. Be it a cellphone, a toy for your child, an important document, a bunch of keys, or a parking card, reaching out to pick them up while driving can cause a crash.
  10. Sleepy: Driving a vehicle at odd hours of the night or while being drowsy is a major menace. It leads to a number of road accidents and casualties all over the world. So, driving while drowsy or exhausted is not an option.
  11. Enjoying the view: Enjoying the view while travelling is not an offence. But deviating your mind towards the roadside diversions, be it a wonderful sunset or an animated billboard, might result in a fatal accident.
  12. Daydreaming while driving: While driving, it is very important to keep the mind clear of all sorts of thought processes and concentrate particularly on driving. Human brain is designed to adapt to habits. Once the brain is accustomed to a particular activity, it does not think about the complex coordination of the process. Driving is a habit and often we get adapted to driving on a familiar route. And when the route is familiar our brain considers it to be fine to not concentrate on the driving as much as it is required to. This absence of mind often leads to mishaps as the driver’s thought process might cause a distraction.
  13. Talking over the phone: Talking over a phone tops the list of most dangerous distractions. Talking over the phone is bound to bring in distraction: be it directly on a mobile phone or on a handsfree device. A study says that the risk of a crash is increased by four times if the driver is talking over a phone.

As cited earlier, driving is a task of responsibility. Being a driver, it is your responsibility to ensure that you are doing whatever it takes to keep yourself and your fellow commuters out of danger.

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