Distracted driving is becoming a pervasive issue. In Mexico City, undercover officers on foot patrol use two-way radios to alert uniformed colleagues down the block about drivers who are paying more attention to their smartphones than the road. In Montreal, police officers hide aboard a white bus with tinted windows to catch distracted drivers. In South Carolina, highway patrol officers work with county sheriff offices to build databases of distracted drivers known to be habitual offenders.
Although the texting and driving phenomenon has been making news headlines over the last few years, this modern practice is hardly the only cause of distracted driving. The staff at American Tri-Star, a leading provider of car insurance in San Diego, has put together a list of the five main distractions known to cause drivers to take their eyes and concentration off the road.
1. Spacing Out
Research by insurance underwriters and actuaries indicates that more than 60 percent of distracted driving accidents occur because drivers were engaged in a state of mind that took them to a place far away. In other words, they lost situational awareness, particularly during long-distance trips. To avoid spacing out, driving instructors recommend reading, acknowledging, and processing every road sign encountered while driving.
2. Texting or Talking on Smartphones
Nearly 15 percent of distracted driving collisions are caused by using mobile devices, which are problematic because they can take a driver’s eyes off the road and his or her hands off the steering wheel. Fortunately, we have three solutions: Android Auto, Microsoft SYNC, and Apple CarPlay. These infotainment systems feature advanced voice and speech recognition interfaces that allow drivers to manage digital content and communications in a hands-free fashion.
3. Using Objects While Multitasking
Stand-up comedians often joke about female drivers putting on makeup during their morning commute. However, the reality is not so funny: between 2 and 3 percent of motor vehicle accidents are caused by drivers using objects they brought into their cars. The best way to prevent these types of accidents is to refrain from bringing or using such objects while driving, or at least making the reasonable decision of pulling over for this purpose.
4. Paying Attention to Outside Distractions
Here’s another situation stand-up comedians often include into their repertoire of jokes: attractive pedestrians who stop traffic and distract drivers with their looks. Outside distractions account for 7 percent of distracted driving accidents. Conscious situational awareness must be practiced to avoid these distractions.
5. Interacting with Passengers
Spirited conversations and arguments inside moving vehicles cause 5 percent of distracted driving collisions. Taxi drivers are skilled in the art of maintaining situational awareness while engaging in conversation with passengers, but average drivers should make it a point to pull over whenever they feel interactions with passengers are taking their attention off the road. These distractions are even more prominent when the passengers are pets.
Even if you’re not easily distracted when driving, an accident can still occur. Make sure you’re protected with adequate insurance in the event of a collision. Contact American Tri-Star today at 619-272-2100. We also offer affordable motorcycle, RV, and property insurance in San Diego.