Despite the efforts of many distracted driving prevention campaigns in recent years encouraging people to think twice about texting and driving, distracted driving is neither a new issue nor one limited to smartphone usage. While texting and driving is one of the top contributors to distracted driving accidents, There are many potential distractions to be aware of and avoid while behind the wheel. Here are a few lesser-known distractions that can lead to preventable motor vehicle accidents.
Driving with Pets
Some pets do extremely well in the car. Others may get over-excited or frightened, and if you do not have them in a cage or carrier, they can interfere with your driving. Large dogs jumping into the front seat may immediately come to mind, but even smaller animals can cause a problem. Cats have been known to get under the driver’s side and prevent their owners from reaching the brake pedal.
Even if your pet does not physically interfere with driving, taking your eyes or your concentration off the road to soothe an upset animal can be enough of a distraction to cause an accident. If possible, place them in a carrier or cage and avoid putting it in the front seat with you to eliminate the temptation to reach over and pet or visually check on them.
Driving While Emotional
Road rage can get dangerous quickly. Strong emotions like anger or even sadness can affect the way people drive, potentially causing them to make more impulsive decisions than they would otherwise. Driving while crying can also be dangerous, as tears tend to blur vision and slow reaction time. If possible, consider working through the emotion in a safe spot while parked before attempting to drive.
Taking in the Scenery
“Let’s go for a drive and take in the scenery” sounds like a good idea until you are struggling to keep your eyes on the road instead of looking at something else. Trying to observe the scenery and drive at the same time may end your trip sooner than planned, so pull off the road to look at things when you can. If you are driving with another person, it may also be a good idea to switch off driving duty every so often so that you both get a chance to see everything.
Bugs in the Car
Especially in the spring and summer when people are driving around with the windows down, bugs can fly into the car and cause a mild panic. Swatting something out of your face while urging it out the window and keeping the car under control is a lot to be doing at once. Instead of playing exterminator on the road, either wait to remove the bug or pull over and park until it flies out.
Hurt by a Distracted Driver?
A single moment of inattention, either by you or by someone else, can change your life forever. If you’ve been hurt in a distracted driving accident, a local lawyer may be able to help. Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. today for a free case evaluation.