Distracted driving comes in many forms. Although most people think of mobile phones when they think of distracted driving, distraction could also involve something that catches your eye, makes you daydream or prompts you to reach into the backseat for something.
Taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road are both dangerous kinds of distraction, as is any kind of mental or cognitive distraction that prevents you from fully focusing on safe driving. Thankfully, you can potentially spot some of the more common ways that drivers may distract themselves.
Singing or arguing
Do you ever pull up next to someone at an intersection and see them giving a little concert in their car? As amusing as their energetic performance might be, singing along to the radio is a known cognitive distraction. Similarly, an intense discussion or argument with a passenger in the vehicle or someone on the phone could mean that a driver doesn’t allocate their full attention to operating their vehicle.
Eating a snack or taking a drink
Many people eat a meal or a snack in their vehicle on their way to work or a client meeting. Still, others might sip coffee while running errands or on their way to drop the kids off at school. Eating and drinking at the wheel will not only take at least one hand off the wheel but can also set someone up for dangerous cognitive distraction if they spill what they want to consume.
Handling their phone or interacting with other screens
Drivers using their phones at the wheel may hold their phones right up against the steering wheel or might put them down in their laps to make their actions less obvious to other people near them. Built-in screens can be just as distracting. If you spot someone bathed in the blue light of a phone or if you see them touching at the built-in screen in the center console, you may want to give them extra space on the road because they are not fully focused on driving.
Recognizing some of the warning signs that another driver could cause a serious crash can help you protect yourself out on the road.