What Are the Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving?

As drivers, we have the responsibility to operate our vehicles safely while we are on the road. We may know not to get behind the wheel while intoxicated, but there is another dangerous and all-too-common driving behavior that many people engage in called distracted driving. Whether a driver is texting or applying makeup, any behavior that takes your eyes or mind off the road is dangerous.

What Is Distracted Driving?

Driving requires a great deal of concentration and attentiveness. However, some people fail to pay appropriate attention to the road by engaging in another activity. Engaging in any activity while driving that takes your mind or eyes off the road is a form of distracted driving.

Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and causes thousands of accidents across the country every single year. The Center for Disease Control provides the following statistics on distracted driving.

  • Reading a text while driving 55 miles per hour takes your eyes off the road for approximately 5 seconds. That is the same as driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.
  • Approximately 9 people die in distracted driving-related crashes every day in the United States.
  • Over 1,000 people suffer injuries in distracted driving-related crashes each day in the United States.

These distractions can be visual, manual, and cognitive. Many people assume using a phone is the only form of distracted driving, but talking to your kids, eating, or even using a navigation system can lead to a distracted driving-related crash.

#1: Using a Cell Phone

Many people think of cell phone usage when they hear about distracted driving – and for good reason. Talking, texting, or scrolling through a cell phone are some of the most common causes of distracted driving-related accidents. Cell phone usage can encompass three out of three types of distracted driving behaviors: manual, cognitive, and visual.

Texting or handling your phone can take your eyes off the road for an unsafe period of time to look at the screen. Plus, you have to think about what you are typing, reading, or saying to another person. Your hands are physically handling the device and not ready to respond to any emergency situations.

#2: Children and Other Passengers

Other people in the car can pose distractions while driving, especially children. You may turn around while driving to speak to other people in the car, taking your eyes off the road and increasing the risk of getting into an accident. Having other people distract you also take away from your cognitive focus, making it less likely that you can respond to risks and even normal traffic signals.

#3: Adjusting Car Control Systems

Many people don’t realize that their state-of-the-art vehicle entertainment systems or built-in GPS could also heighten their accident risk. Fiddling with these controls while on the road takes your mind, eyes, and hands away from driving. Set up your controls, music, and maps before you start driving.

#4: Sleep Deprivation and Lack of Focus

Another form of distracted driving is known as drowsy driving, which occurs when you drive while you are overly tired and unfocused. While you may be looking at the road and handling your car, your mind is somewhere else. If something unexpected occurs, you are less likely to respond to it because your mind is not paying attention to the road. Do not drive while you are sleepy or feeling disoriented.

#5: Eating and Drinking

It is tempting to start eating the fast food you picked up in the drive-thru, or maybe you do not have time to eat your breakfast before you start your commute to work. However, you should refrain from eating or drinking while on the road. These behaviors take your mind, eyes, and hands away from driving and could increase your accident risk significantly.

While you may be careful not to engage in dangerous distracted driving behaviors, other drivers may not be so diligent. If a distracted driver causes your accident, leading to injuries, contact a Seattle distracted driving attorney as soon as possible. You may be able to collect compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and more.