Quality of driving depends directly on how much the driver’s attention is focused on the road and the situation around them. It is essential to always remember that while driving a car, you are responsible not only for avoiding any possibility of a personal injury but also for the well-being of other participants of traffic.
A distracted driver is no less dangerous than a drunk one. Some of the violations are so common among drivers that you may not even realise you are doing something unacceptable and dangerous. Let’s take a look at things that steal your attention from the road and frequently become a leading cause of a car accident.
Lack of Focus
Safe driving requires you to be focused on the road and things around the car. Reasons for the lack of focus can be different. With severe fatigue, even the most professional drivers cannot concentrate behind the wheel for a long time. So it is vital not to drive without getting enough sleep in the first place.
Daydreaming and getting lost in your thoughts will do no good either. Make sure you are getting behind the wheel with clear sight, starting from excluding any worries that might occupy your mind. For example, to avoid forgetting your docs and being bothered thinking what to do if you’re caught driving without a licence, first of all, do not leave your home without double-checking you have it with you.
Radio is another matter. If the music is too loud, your attention will be scattered, concentration reduced, which will not allow you to respond adequately to the road situation – you will not hear other drivers beeping.
Using Your Smartphone
One of the main mistakes, or rather a severe violation of traffic rules by experienced drivers is a systematic distraction from driving to use a smartphone. Some people read text messages; others scroll their social media feeds or look for a perfect song to put on next. Some even manage to respond to a text message or leave a comment on a post on the go!
At first, it is indeed possible to combine these tasks – taking your eyes off the road to quickly check something on your phone, but then the anxiety level decreases, and using your phone gets in a habit. Thus, overconfidence leads to an overestimation of your abilities and results in car accidents. Moreover, it is crucial to understand that using a headset is only a partial solution to the problem since it makes only hands free – the driver’s attention is still on the phone.
Eating and Drinking
We all know how it can be – always operating in a rush, without being able to allocate some time to eat in peace, not to mention getting proper breaks. Maintaining a highly active lifestyle frequently makes you sacrifice satisfying your basic needs (that is food) and then force you to catch up by eating on the go.
Lots of fast-food restaurants and coffee shops offer you to get a meal or your morning coffee by driving through, and this definitely will become a cause of distracted driving. It may be due to limiting the visibility of the road for you, or dropping your drinks on yourself that entails unintentional moves. Performing mechanical actions while driving a car negatively affects your concentration, since only one hand remains on the steering wheel, and it will be problematic (or downright impossible) to react quickly to a sudden situation.
Eating and drinking make driving much more uncomfortable for you, and dangerous for people around, and you certainly do not want your clumsiness to result in a car accident.
Every driver has experienced a negative impact on their concentration and attention from passengers riding with them, be it noisy friends, relatives, children, etc. They talk a lot, comment on your driving style, sing, eat, and anything else that comes into their minds. This factor is another cause of distracted driving and is as dangerous as talking on the phone.
Both a driver and a person in a passenger seat must understand the difference between talking for keeping yourself awake in a long-distance ride and distracted driving.
This one may be unobvious, as adjusting your seat and controls, whether it be rear view and side view mirror or climate control aims to improve your visibility and make your driving better. Mistake hides in doing so when you are already on the road instead of adjusting them before leaving your driveway. Those distractions may seem insignificant, but can indeed lead to a personal injury and car crashes.
The causes of distracted driving listed above are a few of many more, but the most common among drivers. Other examples may include factors like grooming yourself, smoking, wearing uncomfortable clothing, getting behind the wheel in a bad mood, flirting with other drivers, and many more. The one thing they all have in common – besides being dangerous – is that they are all preventable.
The best you can do is to exclude any distractions you can think of from the very beginning of your driver’s experience. If you are afraid of getting bored while stuck in traffic, try to adopt new habits, such as switching songs or radio channels only when you stop. Paying attention to safety first will allow you to avoid personal injury and become a mindful road user.