At this point, you’ve probably heard a million times about the dangers of cellphone use and texting while you’re driving. It’s a deadly distraction when you’re behind the wheel and a product of the time we live in. But those aren’t the only causes for danger when you’re on the road. From loud music to getting lost in thought, there are plenty of distractions for you that can be dangerous and lead to accidents.
Ever drive a mile or two and find yourself wondering how you got there? You were driving while daydreaming. Maybe you’re rehearsing the conversation you’re about to have with your boss. Maybe you imagined what it would be like to win $1 million. It happens to all of us. We all have plenty to worry about. But while you were lost in thought, you weren’t paying attention to the road.
Ever had an accident where you thought, “They came out of nowhere!” Most of the time, you were in your head, thinking about bills to pay or the parent-teacher conference and didn’t see them until too late. It really can happen that fast.
Rubbernecking is an old term for an even older habit. While we’re driving down the road, our curiosity gets the best of us, and we can’t help but look. Not only are you distracted while you’re driving, you could be the reason someone hits you from behind.
We all want to know what happened in that accident or who’s being arrested on the side of the road, but taking your focus off driving is bad for you and everyone else. All it takes is a daydreaming driver behind you to realize too late that you’ve slowed down to look, and you’re both in a costly and potentially harmful accident.
We’ve all seen someone do it before. Maybe you’ve done it yourself. You bring your morning routine to the car all in the name of saving time. Whether you’re applying mascara or shaving (yes, people do that, too), it’s all a bad idea.
One hand and both eyes aren’t on the wheel. You won’t see someone dart out in front of you. You won’t see someone slam on brakes in front of you. It’s much better to be five minutes late to finish getting ready for work than to do it while you’re behind the wheel.
Eating and Drinking
Sometimes it feels like we live our lives on the go. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner all come from the drive-thru as we rush to our next appointment. People eat behind the wheel all the time, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous.
When you grab for a fry, pick up your drink, or dig around the bag for a napkin, you’re not focusing on the task. You don’t have both hands on the wheel, and if something drops, you’re likely to look down. At that point, you’ve taken your eyes off the road in front of you. Accidents can happen in a few seconds. One dropped french fry is all it takes.
Getting behind the wheel feels like the ultimate freedom. The open road ahead of you. The loud music blaring. And so much singing and yes, we know, dancing going on. It’s fun. It’s a stress relief. It feels good. It’s also dangerous.
Singing your favorite song at the top of your lungs while dancing in your seat may make your commute more bearable but it could also lead to an accident. Like every other distraction, your focus is off the job at hand - driving - and on the fun you’re having. We’re not saying that you can't listen to music, but turn it down. And leave the rock opera stuff for the shower.
Talking to Your Passengers
If you can talk to your passengers while keeping your eyes glued to the road, you’re playing it safe. Unfortunately, most people can’t. Instead, they turn their heads, use their hands, and laugh and joke. It’s a lot of fun, but it’s also distracting.
When you focus on the person beside you or the child in the backseat, you’re not watching the road. A cat could dart in front of you. A bus might stop ahead of you. You won’t see the light change from yellow to red until it’s too late. All of these things can cause serious accidents.
It sounds like we don’t want you to have any fun or live your life while you’re driving. We know. But what we really want is for you to avoid expensive and life-threatening car accidents. In 2015 alone, 3477 people died from distracted driving. Thousands more were injured. Don’t be one of them. Stay focused on the road.
If you’ve got questions about your auto insurance policy, Charlotte Insurance can help. Contact us today!