Beyond the Cell Phone - Other Car Distractions Have the Potential To Be Harmful

By Ryan Hurlbert on January 21st, 2010

Auto Insurance

Drivers crash cars for a variety of reasons, and those who have been in car accidents may often be quick to offer reasons why they are not at fault. Oftentimes, drivers may not want to admit that they were distracted, or not paying attention to the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 16% of all fatal crashes involved driver distractions in 2008. As a nation, we are focused on cell phone use and texting, but there are other forms of driver distraction that can be just as deadly.

  • Eating on the Road: Hitting the drive-through and eating lunch on the road can put you at risk. Although you may be practiced at keeping your vehicle in the lane while steering with your knees, you are likely to be unable to execute any accident avoidance maneuvers
  • Entertainment: In the past, drivers crashed while changing radio stations. Now, many cars feature DVD players, game systems, navigation systems, hard-drives, and touchscreens just to turn up the fan speed. Using any of these systems while behind the wheel can put you at risk. Imagine using these features while on the highway at 60 miles per hour, when you are traveling 88 feet per second--that's a football field every 3.5 seconds or so. Punching an address into your navigation system, or scroll through your play-list on your MP3 player can be dangerous activities while you are driving. Be sure to program your trip before you hit the road
  • Childcare: Some parents try to feed, change, or discipline their children while driving. Each of these childcare activities can put you and your family at risk when you are behind the wheel of your car
  • Cell Phones/Texting: Even with a hands-free device, cell phone conversations can be distracting. Watch the drivers around you--when they begin to slow down or speed up, drift around their lane, or brake suddenly--they may be on phone calls. You may be doing the same things when you are on a phone call. If you have to talk, keep your conversation short, and return the call when you can safely pull off the road. Also, you should never text while driving

Driving can be a dangerous activity, and you should give the task of driving your full attention. Although it may seem like you are wasting time, multitasking behind the wheel has the potential to harm you.

Source :
An Examination of Driver Distraction as Recorded in NHTSA Databases • Dec 31, 1969 • • Traffic Safety Facts http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811216.PDF
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