Pay attention: These 10 distractions could cost your life

Monday, July 30, 2012

Although the average person engages in daily activities that involve simultaneous cognitive, physical, and visual skills, there are arguably only a few with as dire of consequences from failure to coordinate these skills as driving.

Driver distraction is the leading cause of vehicle accidents. An even more somber truth is these distractions cost lives.

Among the top 10 distractions that could cost your life:

  1. Cell Phones

    Cell phones are quickly becoming banned for very good reason – this distraction is at the top of the list. Talking on the phone is dangerous enough but texting takes the cake. Because texting requires all three of the same skills as driving – cognitive, mental, and physical – it is no small wonder it is responsible for a majority of accidents. Send your OMG! and LOL! at home.

  2. Reach for the Brass Ring

    Your life is not worth that paper, pen, or lighter that has rolled just beyond your fingertips. Wait and reach for it when you are stopped!

  3. Rubbernecking

    Many of us have been in backed-up traffic only to get to where it lightens up and see the whole jam was due to the inability for many to be able to drive by an accident or pulled over vehicle without being nosy! Work on your neck stretching exercises in the gym!

  4. Salon Time

    Surely, most of these grooming activities would take under a minute once you are stopped. And wouldn’t you do a much better job with two hands and in a stationary position?!

  5. Reading

    Although reading doesn’t mean nose-deep in an enthralling novel, reading directions, maps, meeting notes, and tips for that interview you’re on your way to, all take away from the visual and cognitive skills needed to safely operate the vehicle. Leave the reading to the cozy chair at home!

  6. Eating

    Although we’re all probably guilty of this at least once, eating is a dangerous distraction. Not only is it difficult, often resulting in messy clothing, but it’s dangerous (such as burning yourself or choking), and isn’t good for your digestion. All that before adding the danger to the driver from the impaired driving! Save yourself some calories and eat when you’re stopped and relaxed.

  7. Friends and Family

    It’s understood all passengers should be buckled securely every second the vehicle is in use, but there are still distractions that occur with buckled passengers. Fighting, crying, laughing, roughhousing, and yelling endanger not only the driver, but the passengers as well. Pull over if the passengers become a distraction.

  8. Four-legged Family

    It’s common today to be able to find all types of restraint systems for our fuzzy family members. Not only are they more safe, but the driver is free from unpredictable sudden movements. Keep yourself and your furry family safe!

  9. Fine Tuning

    Major adjustment to devices distracts driving. If you cannot adjust something by touch, it is a sign of an activity you shouldn’t be undertaking while driving. Your life isn’t worth finding that song just to practice your karaoke!

  10. Laz-y-Boy

    Who has driven behind some cars where there appears to be no driver or front seat? Indeed there is a driver – lounged back as if in a recliner at home watching the tube. Not only is the sight impaired but the reflexes are greatly too. Sit up and drive!

These top 10 distractions are responsible for over 80% of accidents and generally occur within seconds of a crash. These activities disproportionately increase the risk of crashes. Pulling over may seem inconvenient, but the alternative is much more so. Cheap car insurance won’t do you any good if you’re dead, so be safe driving!

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