Many people mentally equate distracted driving with the use of mobile devices. However, while device-based distraction has become an increasingly concerning cause of crashes, it isn’t the universal cause that so many people assume it is.
Cellphones can be a risk for distraction, but they are far from the only cause. Data reported by the Insurance Information Institute shows that while distraction was the cause of 9% of fatal crashes in 2017, cellphone use was only 1.2% of all fatal crashes.
Most forms of distraction that lead to crashes, as this data shows, involve something other than cellphones. Learning those forms will keep you safer by helping you avoid distractions yourself and noticing signs that other people aren’t paying attention at the wheel.
What other forms of distraction lead to crashes?
The safest way to drive is with complete focus on the task at hand. Drivers should keep both of their hands on the wheel and their eyes on the road.
Unfortunately, the boredom people experience when driving can prompt them to do dangerous things at the wheel. Any behavior that requires you to look elsewhere, focus mentally on something else or take your hands off of the wheel is a form of distraction.
Common forms of distraction while driving include:
- Eating and drinking
- Reaching for items
- Talking to passengers
- Talking on the phone, even hands-free
- Grooming or adjusting clothing
- Changing radio stations or other vehicle settings
No matter how much time you spend in the car, you can’t distract yourself and still be safe. Avoiding common distractions and other drivers clearly arguing or eating at the wheel can help you minimize your risk of a distracted driving crash.