The Biggest Causes of Distracted Driving in Texas
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents nationwide. In 2015, 3,477 people were killed and nearly 400,000 more were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers. While most people know that electronic distractions are a major hazard behind the wheel, there are many things that can divert attention from the road—and not all distractions can be ignored for the duration of the journey.
Top Five Causes of Distracted Driving
A driving distraction is considered to be any non-driving activity that redirects a driver’s attention for any length of time. Even a few seconds of diverted attention can result in a crash, leaving the roadway, or drifting into an opposing lane.
There most common causes of driver distraction include:
- Cell phones. Using a cell phone to talk or text while driving is the most common cause of distracted driving accidents, with over a quarter of all car crashes involving cell phone use. Teenagers are often targeted as major users of cellphones while driving, but nearly all age groups report using cellphones behind the wheel at one time or another. Texting while driving carries the biggest risk of a crash, since it requires both a mental and visual distraction. In the time it takes to read or respond to a text, a driver’s eyes can be off the road long enough to cover the length of an entire football field.
- Passengers. Conversation may not require a driver to take his hands off the wheel, but it still takes concentration—and if you turn to look at a passenger to respond, it can be even more dangerous.
- Electronic devices. Many people use their phones or a dedicated GPS system for directions while driving. However, these system are far from perfect, and even when they are functioning well they can become a distraction. Other built-in electronics, such as the heat and air conditioning, backseat entertainment system, or even the radio can also divert a driver’s attention.
- Children. While most passengers are aware of the dangers of distracting the driver, children have yet to learn about the risks. They often call to their parents, yell to get attention, make requests, cry when distressed, or start fighting among themselves. Any of these can pull the driver’s attention from the road.
- Eating and drinking. Eating and drinking requires the use of at least one of the driver’s hands, and can pull his full attention from the wheel if something is dropped or spilled.
If you cannot prevent a distraction from occurring, you can reduce the risks of a crash by knowing how to react to a distraction. Never answer any texts or calls while driving, always set up your GPS before taking off, and always pull over if your child needs something. You can also increase safety by sharing this article via email or on Facebook to help others understand the importance of distraction-free driving.