Cars are such a big part of our every day life that we often do not recognize how dangerous they can be. Driving to work in the morning probably does not feel like a life-or-death situation, but thousands of people suffer injuries or lose their lives in car accidents every year. You may not think it could happen to you, but anyone who drives regularly is susceptible to a serious accident.

Driving while distracted only increases your odds of involvement in a serious car accident. Familiarizing yourself with common distractions you may face on a regular basis and how to avoid them could help keep yourself and everyone you share the road with safer.

Cell phone usage

The development of cell phone technology has done plenty of good for contemporary society. Cell phones are helpful in a number of ways, but they also provide a significant distraction to drivers. This is largely due to the various distractions that your cell phone offers. Making phone calls, text messaging, social media and applications all take the driver’s attention away from the road.

Text messaging in particular has become a major issue. From 2012 to 2018, 9% of all fatal car accidents involved a driver who was texting. This is because answering a text message distracts a driver for an estimated time of five seconds. Depending on your speed, taking the time to check a text message could put you and your fellow drivers in serious danger. You are better off using your cell phone before or after you get behind the wheel and tucking it away while you are on the road.

Event outside the vehicle

Sometimes the biggest distractions are things outside the vehicle that captivate us. Many people are guilty of taking their eyes off the road to look at something going on outside. Have you ever seen someone pulled over and spent time thinking about what happened? Maybe you see an animal and take the time to admire it while still operating your vehicle. This small period of time can lead to a dangerous car accident. It is not always possible, but it is important to emphasize focusing on the road.

Food and drink

One of the most common distractions that people do not often realize is the food and drink that they enjoy while driving. Whether this is finishing a sandwich on your way back to work or grabbing a sip of your soda, eating and drinking can be a big distraction for drivers.

Sometimes it is possible to sneak a bite without taking your eyes off the road, but this becomes more difficult if the meal is messy. That small drop of sauce that falls on your pants may take your eyes off the road at an inopportune time. If you can’t avoid eating and drinking altogether, make sure you are consuming things that will not take your attention away from where it should be.  

Lost in thought

Almost everyone is guilty of spacing out from time to time. Sometimes focusing for an extended period of time can be difficult. Driving can get boring, and it is easy to allow your attention to drift away from the road. The unfortunate truth is that the split second you spend thinking about something on the road could lead to you accidentally running a red light or drifting into a different lane. This is a problem that is almost impossible to avoid but emphasizing focus on the road can certainly help you avoid this distraction.

Preventing accidents

Fortunately, distracted driving is preventable. Raising awareness on the subject alone can help people avoid things that they may not have even thought to be distractions. If you can focus on which distractions influence you the most and do everything in your power to avoid them, the road will be a safer place both for you and other drivers.