We see people engaging in distracted driving on the road every day, and at this point, we’re almost numb to it. Fortunately, April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, giving us the opportunity to acknowledge the distracted driving behaviors we have all exhibited at one time or another.
The overwhelming majority of car crashes are caused by human error. Yes, that means it’s our fault most of the time, rather than the environment or the car. Distracted driving causes more accidents than driving under the influence or speeding. It is the most common cause of human error in car accidents, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
Crazy Things We Do While Driving
When was the last time you got in the car and just drove? No radio changes, no eating or drinking, nothing. It’s probably been a while, and while most of us engage in one of these behaviors occasionally (or daily), some take it even further…and we mean way further.
Reader’s Digest asked people about the craziest things they have seen other drivers do or have done themselves while on the road. Here are a few of the highlights:
- Diaper change – A woman had her baby in the front seat next to her and changed the baby’s diaper while driving. This is unsafe in so many ways. This mom should reserve her multitasking for off-road activities.
- Piano playing – A man in a Suburban was seen driving with his left hand and playing a full-sized keyboard with his right hand while driving. Apparently he neglected the “10 and 2” rule for a little musical inspiration. Not recommended.
- Knitting – This activity takes two hands, so we’re not sure how it’s even possible while driving. Please don’t drive with your elbows just to get a little further on that hand-knit scarf for his birthday.
- Eating soup – If you must eat in the car, perhaps opt for the power bar. It’s common because it is convenient. A woman was seen driving in the Midwest while eating soup. Not only is this a huge distraction, but imagine the consequences if piping-hot soup were to spill on her while driving.
- Reading – You can’t focus on a storyline and character development and change lanes. You just can’t.
- Laptop typing – This is workaholic to the extreme. Typing with one hand is tedious, so you might as well wait until you stop and can use two. Being distracted by trying to type accurately and the screen itself is a double whammy.
Less Crazy Things We Do While Driving
Ok, so now you’re thinking you don’t look so bad compared to the ramen-slurping, sweater-knitting, diaper-changing drivers. Odds are, however, that you are still sipping coffee or eating a bar or fiddling with your music app or fixing your makeup. Or all of the above.
While these may seem like typical multitasking behaviors, they are extremely dangerous. In fact, multitasking itself is essentially a myth. Neuroscience research shows that our brains don’t really do tasks simultaneously. Instead, we just switch back and forth between tasks quickly, hoping that equates to the same thing. It makes us less efficient, and when it comes to driving, less efficient means more risky and more likely to crash (Psychology Today).
Long story short, distracted driving is never okay, no matter the activity. No matter how talented at “multitasking” you think you are, distracted driving is more likely to land you in a crash than any other factor.
Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving
In today’s world, avoiding distracted driving is easier said than done. But we encourage you to try instituting one of these tactics at a time:
- Do not text or talk on the phone while driving. Set up your music app before you put the car in drive, and stick with that station for the entirety of the drive.
- Do not eat or drink while driving. Stick your protein bar in your bag and eat it when you arrive. If you have to sip coffee, wait for the stoplights.
- Limit the number of passengers, and their noise level, in your car. Many states limit beginning teen drivers to one passenger in addition to themselves. Limiting passenger distraction is a good idea for the rest of us as well. It can be easy to focus on the conversation instead of the road.
- Learn to enjoy the lack of multitasking. Chances are that you are required to do a lot of things in quick succession at work and at home. Adjust your perspective to see driving as a chance to get away from that. Focus on the road, and maybe the music, and enjoy the precious time to be alone with your thoughts.
We hope that these tactics work for you, and that you give up distracted driving. In the event that you are hit by another distracted driver (the odds are, unfortunately, pretty good), we recommend talking to our Dallas distracted driving attorneys at Crowe Arnold & Majors, LLP. Your consultation is free, and we will advise you as to whether you have a strong legal case. If we take your case, you pay nothing until we get you satisfactory compensation.
Happy April, and remember to put down the phone!