What Are Some Surprising Causes of Distracted Driving?

Published on Dec 19, 2019 at 11:32 am in Car Accidents.
What Are Some Surprising Causes of Distracted Driving?

Many people are aware of the dangers of distracted driving. Whenever something takes a driver’s attention away from the road, they can get in an accident. Drivers may know of some common distractions, like cell phones and eating, and can take certain precautions to avoid them. While keeping a phone out of arm’s reach as well as keeping any food out of the driver’s lap or passenger seat are great methods to prevent these distractions from getting their attention away from the road, there are other forms of distractions that the driver may have not prepared for. Let’s take a look at some of these surprising distractors a driver can encounter.

Unexpected Causes of Distracted Driving 

Every driver knows to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. However, they may push this knowledge aside when a distraction arises.

External Distractions

One major distraction is traveling with pets. If you’re traveling with a dog, they may be in the back of the car or on your lap. Sometimes, dogs get excited in the car and may have a hard time settling down. A dog may try to go into the front seat and could get in your space as you’re driving. As a driver, you’re going to likely push them away to get them to stay in the back. Taking a hand off the wheel and looking at your dog could be the actions that cause your accident.

Lapdogs can also distract a driver if they’re moving or trying to get your attention. While you may feel more secure to have your dog sitting in your lap, they could try to play or get excited and become a distraction.

Another distraction is needing something while you’re driving—like a tissue. If you’re reaching in your bag on the passenger seat or you’re trying to get something out of the backseat, you may lose sight of the road and veer into another lane, car, or go off the road entirely.

Drivers often choose to listen to music when they drive. While this can help some drivers stay alert and make the drive more enjoyable, blasting music can create distractions. When a driver is more focused on the song or picking the right playlist, their attention is no longer on the road.

Internal Distractions

It’s common to list off all the external factors of distracted driving that can lead to a car accident. However, there may be internal factors that affect the driver’s ability to be a safe driver as well. Let’s look into internal driving distractions and what you can do to reduce them.

Your emotional state could take your mind away from driving safely. If you’re upset, you may be crying, which will affect your vision. You’re likely going to be focused on the thing that’s making you sad or angry. You may not realize you’re speeding or forget to check your blind spots if you’re changing lanes. If you’re upset, safely pull to the side of the road and work on calming down. It’s okay to take as much time as you need until you’re ready to drive again. Remember, safety is always your priority. Worrying about arriving somewhere on time is not worth it if you’re not in a state to drive.

Even if you’re not upset, you may start daydreaming or zoning out as you’re driving. This could be you thinking about your destination, what you need to accomplish when you get there, or you could even be making a grocery list in your head. In any case, your mind is somewhere else. If another driver started slowing down or was changing lanes in front of you, your reaction time may be slower because you’re not anticipating what the other drivers are doing.

Staying focused on the road is important. Taking precautions to reduce distractions could also lower your chances of getting into a car accident. Keeping items out of arm’s reach, securing your pets, picking your music before you start driving and keeping it at a low or medium level volume, and maintaining your focus are all ways to strengthen your driver safety.

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