Did you know that 25% of all car accident fatalities are the result of a distracted driver? With the advent of smartphones and tablets, it’s a wonder this number isn’t twice as high. Most people are surprised to find that cellphone use only makes up about 10% of all distracted driving incidents. An internal study performed by a New England insurance company surveyed accident victims and compiled a list of the top reasons why drivers are distracted in the first place.
Indeed, the senior vice president at Erie Insurance, Doug Smith, defines distracted driving as “any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off your primary task of driving safely.” In essence, distracted driving can take multiple forms and shouldn’t just be blamed on texting teens.
Below is a list of the top 7 causes of distracted driving in the United States.
7. Gravity Always Wins: 2%
A full 2% of accident victims reported that they were distracted while driving due to a falling object. Most times the driver is attempting to retrieve the lost object from the floor or beneath the seat, and this is the cause of the distraction. So next time you’re driving and you drop your cell phone on the floor, do yourself and other drivers a favor and wait until the next stop light to retrieve it.
6. A Moveable Feast: 2%
The next most reported reason for distracted driving is because a driver was eating or drinking a beverage when they should have been paying attention to the road. The best thing to do if you are hungry while driving is to take a ten-minute break to eat before getting back behind the wheel again.
5. Mobile DJ: 2%
Another 2% of distracted driving accidents are caused by a driver fiddling the controls of a radio or the climate controls of a car. Luckily, many newer car models now deploy prevention measures, such as steering wheel controls or voice commands, to keep drivers from becoming distracted.
4. The Problem With Other People: 5%
A common distraction for drivers is other passengers. Other people in your car can distract you with conversation or even just by being present. Remember to always keep your eyes on the road while you drive. No conversation is worth getting into a wreck over.
3. The Plight of the Rubbernecker: 7%
We get it. Driving can be a drag at times, especially if you must travel long distances. Sitting in a car for hours can get boring and the outside scenery is often a welcome distraction. Looking out the window at passing trees is dangerous though. Cars ahead of you can stop in the flash of a second. As tempting as it can be to admire the landscape on a long drive, do your best to keep your eyes forward at all times. Nobody likes a rubbernecker.
2. That Text Could Very Well Be Your Last: 12%
No surprise that cellphone use ranks so highly on this list. At some point, everyone has seen a driver next to them texting on their phone. This type of distracted driving is both one of the worst and most widespread. So much so that PSAs about texting and driving are commonplace throughout virtually every culture. Do yourself and other drivers on the road a favor and just put the cellphone away until you reach your destination. Don’t let a text make you just another harrowing statistic.
1. When Cloud Watching Turns Deadly: 62%
By a wide margin, the number 1 reported reason accident victims say they are distracted is daydreaming, and it’s not even close. Similar to the reasons distracted drivers rubberneck, people who daydream while driving do so for many of the same reasons: long drives and lonely car rides. Again, it should be stressed that driving is a dangerous activity that requires concentration and focus. Stopped cars and obstacles can come at you in the blink of an eye, much less a hazy stare into nothingness. If you find that while you’re driving you begin to daydream the best thing you can do to break out of your reveries is to turn on peppy music or even pull over to take a break from driving. Oftentimes, daydreaming is a sign that you might have driven far enough for the day.
The Advocates’ Car Accident Lawyers
So there you have it. The top 7 causes of distracted driving. The Advocates hope you enjoyed this list and if you ever find yourself the victim of a car accident caused by another person, you should contact our office as soon as possible. Our attorneys have decades of experience helping accident victims all throughout Washington State. Let the Advocates help you get your life back on track again. You can either call our office at (206) 452-4200 or chat online right now with a live attorney from our homepage. Don’t wait. Contact us today. You deserve an Advocate!