Distracted Driving – Beyond Texting-and-Driving

While smartphones get most of the attention for creating distracted driving hazards, technology is only part of the story.

Distracted driving has gained a lot of attention in recent years, with many people blaming the increased use of technology. While the advancement of mobile technology has played a huge role in distracted driving, there are other factors that contribute to this problem.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there are three types of driver distraction:1

  • Visual: taking eyes off the road
  • Manual: taking hands off the steering wheel
  • Cognitive: taking mind off of driving

Sometimes, non-technology distractions like eating, applying makeup and dealing with pets can also be dangerous.

Common examples of these distractions — and ways to help minimize the risks — include:

  • Meals/Beverages – In this age of multi-tasking, coffee is a staple to start the morning. It is not uncommon to stop for food or a beverage and eat on your way to your next destination. However, this activity could take your eyes off the road for a second or more, increasing your risk for a crash.
  • Radio – Do you have an older car where the audio controls are not on the steering wheel? The few seconds that it takes to look down could result in a collision. Try to choose your desired station before you leave and only change stations while stopped at stop signs or red lights by using your pre-assigned buttons. In newer cars, always utilize forward or back buttons on steering wheel to browse stations.
  • Children/Pets – Is a child in the back seat misbehaving? Yelling, crying or throwing things? Do not turn around to reprimand them. If age appropriate, try explaining how their behavior is being disruptive and potentially unsafe. If you need a break or to stop the chaos, pull over to a safe location and handle the situation responsibly. Pets should be secured in the car for their own safety and to minimize distraction to the driver.
  • Conversation – Whether chatting with friends or catching up on business with a colleague, conversation can make the trip seem to go faster. However, be mindful that these conversations can take your focus off the road. Drivers may want to limit their participation in the discussion, especially during heavy traffic or adverse weather.

Kelly Lespier is a Premier Account Specialist with Chubb Personal Risk Services’ Risk Consulting Group.

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