Top 10 Driving Distractions You Can Avoid
3,287—that's how many car accident fatalities are caused by driving distractions every single day throughout the world. The good news is that they can easily be prevented. Read on to learn about the top 10 driving distractions you can (and should) avoid so you can help yourself and others stay safe on the road.
Long drives, especially on roads you pass daily, can cause you to lose focus and start daydreaming. To combat this, just remember that while the route may be familiar, there's virtually zero chance that the driving conditions will be the same every time you take it. Long story short, you still have to stay focused at all times while behind the wheel.2. Food and Drinks
Anything that requires you to take your hands off the steering wheel and your eyes off the road, even for a couple of seconds, is bad news while driving. Eating and drinking forces you to do both. If you really need to eat or drink inside your vehicle, then find a safe place to park and finish your meal before continuing your trip—or at least wait until you're stopped at a traffic light.3. Knobs, Buttons, and Levers
Adjustments to your mirrors and seat should be made before leaving home. Tinkering with your car's entertainment or airconditioning system, on the other hand, can be done while on the road, but only when you're at a full stop. Again, as a general rule, you shouldn't take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road while the vehicle is in motion.4. Calls and Texts
Calling or texting and driving is not only illegal, but it's also one of the most common causes of vehicular accidents in the US. If you must absolutely take a call, be sure to only do so when you have your phone's hands-free function enabled. Even then, however, you'll still be forced to take a bit of your focus off driving, so don't make it a habit. The only time you should ever really touch your phone while behind the wheel is when you are safely parked.5. Roadside Distractions
Billboards, breathtaking sceneries, interesting people—there are a lot of things vying for your attention on the road. However, unless you're parked or stopped at a red light, your only focus should be getting from point A to point B safely.6. Improperly Fastened Seat Belts
Seat belts are supposed to keep you safe on the road, especially in the event of a crash. However, an improperly fastened one can do the exact opposite. Just imagine yours suddenly flying across your face while you're doing 65 on the highway because you didn't lock it into place. To be safe, always make sure your seat belt is fastened properly before driving.7. Fatigue
If you're too tired to drive, just don't. Rest first before going out. If you're already out, however, the next best thing is to find somewhere you can park and recover. The time you will lose is well worth it if it means you'll avoid getting involved in a potentially fatal crash due to falling asleep behind the wheel.8. Unfamiliar Vehicles
If you’re driving a new or unfamiliar vehicle, take the time to learn all the essential controls first before hitting the road. Having to figure things out along the way is not only distracting, but it also puts you (and any passengers you may have) at risk of getting in an accident.9. Makeup
For whatever reason, some people think it's a good idea to put makeup on while driving. Don't ever do it. There's never a situation where doing your makeup on the road is the only option you have. Either doll yourself up at home or do so once you reach your destination.10. Social Media
Taking calls while driving is distracting enough, but using social media is a whole different story. Not only does it require you to take your eyes off the road and your hands off the wheel, but it also demands so much more of your attention. Be sure to mute all notifications before driving to eliminate the temptation to constantly check your phone while on the road.
Check out this video for the top 10 driving distractions you should avoid:
Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.8.19]