Most driving distractions are obvious. Reading a map, for example, or participating in a text conversation while behind the wheel are clear distractions that could lead to severe collisions resulting in catastrophic injuries. However, there are some distractions that are less apparent and so common that the activities are performed while behind the wheel without a second thought.
Here are five types of driving distractions that you might not have considered:
- Emotional interference: Individuals might not realize it but driving while experiencing strong emotions can have a direct impact on the safe operation of the vehicle. Whether angry, sad, frustrated or distressed it is wise to take a few moments to cool off before getting on the road. Strong emotions can lead to distractions or, in some situations, road rage.
- Audio interruptions: We’ve all heard the anecdotal joke about the friend who was pulled over for speeding simply because a great song was on the radio. Whether you are singing along to a favorite track or listening intently to an engrossing podcast, anything that pulls mental energy from the safe operation of the car is a distraction. These are often called “cognitive distractions” and can be quite dangerous.
- Dining and driving: The activity is so commonplace that hardly anyone thinks of it as a driving distraction. Eating and drinking while behind the wheel can happen to any driver on any road at any time of the day. Whether it is eating a quick breakfast on the way to class or grabbing a drive-thru dinner on the way home from a long shift, drivers will have to take their eyes off the road, hands off the steering wheel and attention off the act of driving.
- Pets and kids: In short, any passenger in the vehicle can be distracting. From conversations with friends, to handing out treats to children to reassuring a pet who is uncomfortable with the ride, these all represent dangerous driving distractions.
- Hands-free technology: Almost all drivers agree that digital devices can lead to distracted driving. Sending a text or reading email are almost universally panned. However, these same drivers will make a hands-free call or send a voice-to-text message. Unfortunately, studies agree that these hands-free activities are only marginally safer than their in-hand counterparts.
Distracted drivers can cause severe collisions resulting in devastating injuries. Drivers must not only avoid distractions while behind the wheel, but also be aware of the activities of drivers around them on the road. If you were injured in a motor vehicle collision caused by someone’s negligence or inattention, it is crucial that you learn more about your legal options for monetary recovery.