Distracted driving has emerged as a significant concern on roadways, posing a substantial threat to public safety. According to a recent study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving was responsible for approximately 9% of all fatal crashes in the United States in 2022.
Though inattentive driving is dangerous, some people may not realize they are doing anything wrong. These are the most common ways people become distracted on the road.
1. Cell phone use
One of the primary contributors to distracted driving is the use of cell phones. Whether engaging in texting, making calls or utilizing social media, these activities divert drivers’ attention away from the road.
The NHTSA reports that, at any given moment during daylight hours, close to 8% of drivers are using their cell phones, placing themselves and others at risk.
2. Eating and drinking
Many drivers underestimate the hazards associated with eating or drinking while operating a vehicle. Juggling a meal or a hot beverage can lead to compromised focus and delayed reaction times.
3. Adjusting controls
Constantly adjusting in-car controls, such as the radio, GPS or air conditioning, can divert attention from the road. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that in 2021 there were 43 crashes caused by adjusting audio or climate controls. Taking one’s eyes off the road for just two seconds can double the risk of a crash.
Although less overt than other distractions, daydreaming can be equally hazardous. Allowing the mind to wander diminishes a driver’s situational awareness, increasing the likelihood of overlooking key cues on the road. The IIHS estimates that daydreaming contributes to nearly 65% of all crashes caused by distracted driving.
In today’s fast-paced world, it is important to acknowledge the potential consequences of common driving distractions. By recognizing these distractions and taking steps to mitigate them, individuals can collectively contribute to safer roads for everyone.