The world is full of ways to be distracted. If you’re not careful, the bright light of a distant billboard, the blaring music you’re jamming out to, or your friend’s text message may lead you into a dangerous situation. If you want to protect yourself and others from injury, avoid all these distracted driving behaviors.
Behavior #1: Texting
According to the National Safety Council, “cell phone use while driving leads to approximately 1.6 million crashes each year.” You may not think anything of occasionally glancing at your phone while driving, even if it’s just to check the weather. But looking away from the road for even just five seconds is enough time for a dangerous—and potentially fatal—crash to happen. Don’t underestimate the damage you could cause by taking your eyes off the road.
Behavior #2: Becoming Distracted
Boisterous passengers can be a huge danger to drivers, especially ones that easily lose focus. Actions such as playing loud music or entertaining your guests can impact the safety of your driving. Parents with misbehaving children will also often take their eyes—and sometimes even their hands—off the wheel to tend to the unruliness. If your kids tend to be loud and distracting, develop strategies to pacify them without compromising your driving.
Behavior #3: Daydreaming
If you’ve ever arrived home with no idea how you got there, you were probably daydreaming while driving. Driving is not a terribly mentally demanding activity; once you learn to drive, many of the movements become second nature. With nothing to keep your attention, your mind falls to other tasks, and you can become lost in thought. Don’t rely solely on your years of driving experience to get yourself safely to your destination. Pay attention to the road and practice good driving habits to maximize your safety.
Behavior #4: Eating
Any activity that requires two hands should wait until after you’ve parked your car—and eating is certainly one of them. Eating while driving prevents you from noticing important road signs, takes your eyes off the road, and slows your reaction time. Some of the most dangerous foods are hot beverages, as spilling them often causes an abrupt reaction that can cause a collision.
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