Believe it or not, cell phones may not be the leading cause of accidents and fatalities resulting from distracted driving accidents.
You’ve heard about the dangers of using your phone while driving.
But while it’s the leading cause of accidents and fatalities as far as driving distracted goes, it’s far from the only cause.
Other Driving Distractions That Present a Serious Risk of Causing an Accident or Fatality
Having a Conversation or Listening to Music
No joke here. This seems so routine that you don’t even think about it when driving.
But technically, having conversations and listening to music does take your focus off the road.
Your focus on driving falls around 40%.
While you think you can multitask, no person’s brain is designed to do so.
“People can’t multitask very well, and when people say they can, they’re deluding themselves,” said neuroscientist Earl Miller regarding his study discussed at National Public Radio.
Truthfully, you can only rapidly switch your attention, he found. You actually cannot focus on multiple things at once, no matter how much you may tell yourself you can.
Combing and Styling Your Hair While Driving
Harris Poll conducted an online survey among adults ages 18 and older.
Combing and styling hair was tied for the most common distraction, with 15% of those surveyed admitting to it.
Guess what driving distraction it was tied with…
Nope. It wasn’t phone use.
It was actually public displays of affection.
I’m not kidding here! That’s what the survey actually found.
This is a tough driving distraction because you don’t have control over what the other people in your car do.
Parents, unfortunately, have their attention taken off the road for 3 ½ minutes during a 16-minute car ride.
Those passengers aren’t always human, either. 90% of pet owners travel with their pets and 8% of pet owners admit to letting their pet sit on their lap, according to data quoted by the New York Times.
Shifting attention back to people, a teen’s risk of a fatal car accident increases by 44% when they have someone under 21 as a passenger.
However, the risk of a teen driver dying in an accident falls 62% when they have an adult age 35 or over with them.
Lost in Thought
Believe it or not, this may be the leading cause of distracted driving accidents and fatalities.
Yep. It may not actually be cell phone use or texting while driving, dangerous as each may be.
The simple act of your mind wandering may lead to 62% of distracted driving collisions.
The bottom line is that anything which takes your thinking off the road and other drivers increases your chances of an accident or fatality.
Joseph R. Morrison is the Senior Associate Attorney at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX, where he represents people personally injured due to the negligence of others. He was recognized by VerdictSearch for obtaining a Top 5 Premises Liability verdict in the State of Texas, and has been quoted in the ABA Journal.