When you get behind the wheel you’re taking on a lot of responsibility. Keeping everyone safe is a top priority and avoiding distractions while you’re driving is one way to help ensure safety for you and others on the road.
Distracted driving is an all-too-common problem on today’s roadways. While texting and driving is one of the most talked about distractions you may see, any activity that takes your eyes off the road can be dangerous. Did you know sending or reading a text takes your eyes off the road for 5 seconds? When traveling at 55 mph, that’s long enough to drive the full length of a football field with your eyes shut. Yikes!
You may be driving distracted and not even know it. Let’s take a closer look at our list of distractions while driving that you might easily overlook.
6 Surprising Driving Distractions
Whether you’re embarking on a long road trip or you’re just headed home, it may not seem like a big deal to eat or drink a beverage while driving, but it can easily take your hands and focus off the road.
2. Your Mind
When your mind is thinking about something else, it’s easy to be distracted. If you’re feeling angry, sad or overwhelmed, take a moment to collect your thoughts before getting behind the wheel. One study found that drivers who are noticeably angry or sad increase their crash risk by 10 times.
Bringing Fido with you in the car is fun for you and your four-legged friend. But from hopping up to the front seat (or even sitting on your lap) to hanging out the window, your pet can become a distraction if not properly restrained.
4. Hands-Free Tech
Think hands-free means distraction-free? Not so fast. Using voice commands to send a text or talking through your car speakers or speaker phone can still take your focus and eyes off the road. Researchers found that it can take up to 27 seconds to refocus after using voice commands. If you need to use navigation, be sure to set your destination prior to hitting the road. Familiarize yourself with the directions and be sure to safely pull off the road when unsure.
Your eyes are focused ahead but if it’s not on the road, you likely aren’t devoting all your attention on driving. The scenery and landscape are nice to look at while you’re driving but they too, can take your attention off the road. For road trips, plan pit stops to take in the scenery. There may even be designated look out points and landmarks along the way.
Your car is designed to haul more than just your belongings. There’s space for friends and family as well. While having people in the car with you is often unavoidable, it’s important to not let them distract you. Keep conversations limited in high traffic areas. Kids can be especially distracting (especially from the backseat). Before you take off, be sure everyone has what they need for the trip so you can avoid needing to pass things to the back or vice-versa.
Distractions are everywhere but there are things you can do to practice safe driving habits. Your safe driving may also help you save on your auto insurance. Talk with your local Farm Bureau agent about our Driveology program.