Photo: Will Merydith
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents. In fact, a study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) found that 80 percent of crashes involve some form of driver distraction.
With that in mind, it’s a good idea to cease all activity that distracts you from watching the road. To help you out, here are 10 of the top distractions that cause car accidents.
#1: Talking On the Cell Phone
Yep, that’s right. Gabbing on the phone with your BFF could result in a devastating accident. So if you must take a call, it’s recommended that you pull over to do so.
Texting while driving is considered worse than talking on the phone because you have to remove your eyes from the road to read or type a text. It’s so bad, in fact, that it’s now banned in 32 states, D.C. and Guam.
#3: Personal Prepping
Women applying makeup and guys checking themselves out in the mirror are huge distractions. If you must do either, you should pull the car over, or even better, take care of it before leaving the house.
Another major distraction is parents turning around to yell at their kids. Of course, this should be avoided to keep both you and your kids safe.
Trying to scarf down that morning breakfast or drink that hot cup of coffee is a huge distraction on the road. Why? Because you have to look down to grab whatever you’re trying to eat or drink. Not to mention that dropping or spilling the item could make you take your eyes off the road.
Why someone would choose their moment behind the wheel to begin reading a newspaper is baffling. But people do it and doing it causes accidents. If you want to avoid an unnecessary car crash, wait until you get to your destination to read that story you’ve been dying to know about.
#7: Staring at Attractive People
Believe it or not, in Colombia, South America, men staring at women accounted for one in 20 crashes in 2005. While this type of distraction isn’t a stats-maker in the U.S., there’s something to be said for this behavior. There’s nothing wrong with checking someone out, but hopefully it’s not being done at the expense of safety.
#8: Using a Navigation System
Most people don’t think operating their vehicle’s navigation system while en route is a problem. But when being used during transit, it could be a huge distraction. To avoid any problems, set up the trip before leaving for your destination or pull over to use this system.
#9: Watching a Video
Many cars nowadays come with DVD players, but this doesn’t mean that driver is supposed to use their transit time to watch the latest movie. For obvious reasons, don’t drive and watch a video. Wait until you’ve reached your destination to do this.
#10: Changing a Radio Station
Some drivers have mastered the art of changing a radio station, CD or Mp3 player without taking their eyes off the road. This is rare, however. If you’re not the best multi-tasker, it’s best to wait until you stop at a light to change your music selection since doing so at the wrong time could result in an accident.