As we mentioned on previous blogs, it is vital to stay focused while driving in order to avoid any distractions that might cause an accident.
In fact, distracted driving is one of the most common causes of road accidents in the world.
Distractions may prevent you from noticing vital cues that could prevent a collision, or even make you lose control of the vehicle for a few seconds.
For that reason, today’s blog will be focused on the most common causes of distracted driving and the possible solutions to avoid it.
1. Using Your Phone
Activities such as texting, or even making calls constitute one of the most common and dangerous distractions for drivers.
According to the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety, nearly half of the Malaysian drivers use their mobile phones while driving.
In fact, the percentage of phone usage at traffic lights is as high as 61.9%, while 56.3 % of Malaysian drivers use their phone during traffic jams.
And 61.1% of them confessed having played games while they were driving.
This is quite concerning, since using your phone while driving leads to speeding, leaving the lane unintentionally, and can eventually lead to a collision.
Even phone calls can be dangerous. Most road safety institutions warn that phone conversations while driving can be more distracting than other activities such as listening to the radio or talking to passengers.
That’s why they recommend not to extend phone calls further than 2 minutes, which gives drivers just enough time to tell their interlocutor to call them later.
2. Talking with Another Passenger
As we mentioned in our blog about road rage, it is not advisable to drive if you’re experiencing intense emotions, especially derived from arguments with other passengers.
If you become too absorbed by a conversation, you may not notice important changes on the road.
That’s why it is not recommended to talk about important or sensitive topics when you’re driving.
3. Manipulating Control Systems
Modern vehicles are designed to enable drivers to easily handle some of their components without having to take their hands off the wheel for too long.
However, these actions can still be distracting for drivers, especially if they keep tuning the radio, entering an address on the GPS, or simply adjusting the temperature inside the vehicle.
To avoid this type of distraction, it is advisable to adjust the temperature, choose your preferred radio station and set the address on your GPS system before starting your journey.
4. Distractions Inside the Vehicle
A crying baby, an agitated dog or even an insect that got inside the vehicle can disrupt the driver’s concentration and result in a rash decision, which could be fatal.
In those cases, it is important to keep calm and rely on other passengers to handle the situation, and if necessary, look for a safe place to stop.
Remember that the only thing the driver must focus on is the road.
5. “Rubbernecking” and Other Outside Distractions Such as Billboards and Signs
Sometimes an accident causes another one due to bystanders slowing down to see what happened. This is known as rubbernecking, and is one of the main causes of accidents around the world.
It often causes delays, traffic jams, and in the worst cases, collisions. Eye-catching billboards, signs and even decorations such as Christmas lights also constitute common distractions for drivers.
That’s why it is important to keep your eyes on the road, and always look straight ahead. And even if it is important to pay attention to road signs, it is best to miss an exit than putting yourself and other drivers at risk.
6. Eating, drinking or smoking
It is important to always keep both hands on the wheel in case something unexpected happens. That’s why eating or drinking while driving is not a good idea.
Apart from not being able to use both hands, drivers get easily distracted and often pay more attention to their food and beverages than the task itself.
The same applies to smoking, which can be twice as distracting, since the smoke can get into the driver’s eyes.