Many of us struggle with distractions in our daily lives. Though it can be especially difficult to keep from getting distracted during the daily monotony of driving, you must always keep your attention on the road. Our Louisville car accident lawyers explain the top 10 distractions that tend to occur while driving to help you stay safe.
Using a Cellphone
Texting while driving is the most dangerous form of distracted driving there is. This is because writing a text message involves visual, manual, and cognitive distractions all at once. Talking on the phone can be very dangerous as well. If you must answer a message or take a call right away, pull over somewhere to do so. Otherwise, wait until you arrive at your destination to reply.
Eating or Drinking
Eating and drinking while driving means that at least one of your hands is off the steering wheel. There is also danger in the potential of dropping or spilling your food or beverage, which can startle or distress you, leading to a crash.
Using the Radio or GPS
Sometimes a song you don’t like comes on while you’re at the wheel. Or you miss a turn and have to recalibrate your GPS. Though you may be tempted to remedy such a situation immediately, it is best not to touch your radio or GPS until you are at a complete stop. Even taking your hand off the steering wheel for a moment can slow your reaction time and lead to a crash.
Reaching for Something
When you reach for an object, you may remove your hand from the wheel or take your eyes off the road. If you are trying to grab something behind you or far away, like in the backseat, this is especially risky.
Adjusting Your Appearance
Looking in the mirror to fix your hair or put on makeup while driving can be extremely hazardous. Take the time to get ready before you leave, or wait until you have reached your destination.
Having someone in the car with you is generally a welcome and benign distraction. However, don’t let yourself get too carried away interacting with the other people in your car while you’re at the wheel. If something like an argument ensues or you have rowdy children in the backseat, pull over until the situation has calmed down enough for you to refocus on driving.
Drowsiness can seriously impair your ability to focus; the effects of sleep deprivation have even been compared to intoxication. Even nodding off for a second or two can lead to a serious collision. Never drive if you are sleep deprived or have recently taken medicine that can lead to drowsiness.
Taking in the View
Sights like beautiful mountain views and garish billboards may draw your gaze, but even the most gorgeous or interesting view isn’t worth taking your eyes off the road—even for a moment. Whatever you do, avoid rubbernecking at all costs.
Stress & Other Negative Emotions
Feeling a heightened sense of anxiety or frustration can lead to distractions no matter what you are doing. Anger is especially dangerous; people tend to drive more recklessly if they are mad. If you are experiencing a mental state that is affecting your driving, pull over and take a few deep breaths. Call a friend or family member to let off steam if you must. Avoid driving again until you have calmed down.
It can be easy for the mind to wander while on the road, especially when driving a long distance or on a relatively empty highway. Your mind may be lulled into a false sense of security if you’ve been driving for a long time or there aren’t many other cars on the road, which can cause you to start focusing too much on your thoughts, becoming distracted.
To avoid daydreaming or otherwise getting distracted while on a long drive:
- Take regular breaks,
- Keep your car cool (colder temperatures keep you more alert),
- Sit up straight, and
- Don’t use cruise control.