There are many causes of distracted driving. According to a recent report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , one out of every five car crashes causing an injury involved some element of distracted driving, and 16% of all fatal automobile accidents also involved distracted driving.
The Top 5
Statistics show that taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds can double your risk of a crash. Unfortunately, most drivers engaging in distracted behaviors are losing sight of the road long enough to quadruple their risk of an accident. These are the top 5 causes of distracted driving:
1. Cell Phones
It’s no surprise that cell phones are the leading cause of distracted driving. Studies have found that using a cell phone while driving creates the same delayed reactions as a person with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent (the legal limit). Needless to say, activities like texting make it even worse
2. Car Stereos
Although adjusting the radio is a common task while driving, having preset stations and exercising common sense can help eliminate this distraction.
Whether it’s turning around to talk to your kids or looking at the person sitting in your passenger seat, the NHTSA estimates that talking to passengers was the leading distraction in 7,000 crashes annually.
4. GPS Devices
Even with the helpful intention of navigating drivers to their destination, GPS devices can present a major distraction because they require the same type of visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver as sending a text message, they’re potentially just as dangerous.
5. Eating & Drinking
A UK insurance provider commissioned a study confirming that when it comes to reducing a driver’s reactions, snacking while driving was on par with using a cell phone. The report determined that, “the mental workload required to eat, drink and drive at the same time was significantly raised, indicating that drivers who consume en route have a greatly reduced ability to deal with other events.”
These are only the top 5. Other common examples include smoking, grooming, dropping something, or even reading a newspaper or book. Regardless of the activity, keeping attention focused on the task at hand and eliminating unnecessary distractions can have a major impact on a driver’s overall safety.