What REALLY Distracts Drivers on the Road?

While most people are aware of the fact that texting and talking on the phone are huge driving distractions, there are many other distractions that can impact your driving skills and abilities. It is important for you to know and understand what other activities or tasks you may be “guilty” of doing recently or in the past that most likely distracted you while behind the wheel. Here are seven less talked about things that distract drivers on the road.

1.     Grooming while driving

When you are running late for work or an event, you may decide to put on makeup, brush your hair, shave, or even floss your teeth while driving down the road. You may be thinking that this will save you some time, but it can actually put you and other drivers at risk of a car accident. One insurance company found that “drivers are three times more likely to crash while applying makeup.” Therefore, it may be better to be a few minutes late instead of looking in the mirror and handling your grooming needs while behind the wheel.

2.     Unsecured pets in the vehicle

Allowing your dog or cat to roam around your vehicle or sit on your lap while it is in drive is a disaster waiting to happen. A survey conducted in 2019 “concluded that 64 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in a potentially distracting pet-related activity, and 29 percent admitted to actually being distracted by their pets.” Many people think it is harmless to let their pets run loose or even feed their pets food or treats while driving down the road. However, this is very dangerous for you, your pets, and other people on the roadways. Not only can they distract you, but if you get into an accident, you AND your pet can be seriously injured. We strongly recommend that you put your pets in a crate or pet restraining system to allow you to fully concentrate on the task at hand, which is driving.

3.     Playing games with your children while the car is in motion

Children become restless, tense, and impatient when riding in the car for a long time. Therefore, most parents usually try to come up with ways to entertain their children while driving for long periods. One of the most common forms of entertainment that parents use is to play games while going down the road.

For example, a parent may encourage their child to participate in a game of “I Spy,” which involves looking around at objects in and outside the car, calling out colors that describe the object, and having the child guess what the object is. Playing games is a great method to pass the time of a long car ride. However, the driver should remain focused on the road to ensure that they do not miss any important traffic signs, are prepared for any unexpected weather conditions, and do not cause an accident.

4.     Daydreaming or “zoning out” while driving

Daydreaming or thinking about other things is one of the most common reasons for distracted driving. Even though you may be looking at the road, your mind may be elsewhere. This can be something as simple as thinking about the meal you are planning to have for dinner, or daydreaming about a childhood moment at your grandmother’s house, or the vacation that you are going on in the next few weeks. Analysis done in 2018 found that drivers being “Generally distracted or ‘lost in thought’” accounted for 61 percent of all fatal distracted driving crashes. Regardless of what you are thinking about, driving is an important task that requires 100 percent of your concentration. Without this, you and many others who are sharing the roads at the same time are at risk of a dangerous accident.

5.     Driving while overly emotional

If you just received sad news about a family member, you and a coworker got into a fight at work, or you and your spouse are arguing, this may be a bad time to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Instead, you should take a few minutes to cool down and recollect your thoughts and emotions before you take off. Vehicles are powerful machines that should never be driven while you are having a mental or emotional breakdown. If you do this, your thoughts and feelings may distract you, resulting in a traumatic and devastating accident.

6.     Noticing insects in your vehicle

Insects frequently make their way into individuals’ vehicles. While this may not be a big deal to some, others may become frightened when they are driving down the road and a wasp is flying around their face or a spider is crawling on their leg. This may cause the driver to lose focus of the road, swatting or moving away from the insect. Unfortunately, these small encounters with bugs can lead to the driver swerving into oncoming traffic and leading to a severe or deadly collision.

7.     Changing your clothes while going down the highway

Drivers who have a busy schedule may decide to change their clothes while going down the highway or roadway. For example, if a person has basketball practice 10 minutes after leaving work, they may want to change into more comfortable clothes as quickly as possible. Folks who work two jobs may need to be in uniform before they clock in, and so will try to change in the car. If this is the case for you and you feel like you are pushed for time, find somewhere to stop the vehicle or just wait to change when you make it to your location. Arriving on time is not worth being severely injured in a car accident.

If you suffer injuries due to a car accident with a distracted driver, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a car accident lawyer from Glisson Law at your earliest convenience. Our team has more than three decades of experience helping clients with various car accident claims. We know the ins and outs of distracted driving accidents and can provide valuable legal advice on what you should do going forward. Contact our firm to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation today. Our attorneys can be found in Alton, but we proudly represent clients from Belleville, Edwardsville, St. Clair and Madison Counties, all of Illinois and Missouri.