When most people hear the term “distracted driving,” they think of people talking or texting on their cellphone. Certainly, cellphone use is a particularly dangerous distraction. Here in Kentucky, unless you’re under 18 or driving a school bus, it’s not illegal to talk on a handheld phone while driving. It is illegal for any driver to use it to text, however.
Just because something is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s safe. There are many other ways that drivers can become distracted that aren’t illegal but can be extremely dangerous. Let’s look at a few.
Listening to music
Even if you’re not channel surfing, just listening to music can be distracting. It evokes all sorts of emotions and memories. A great song can take your mind to another place — not something that should happen while you’re driving. Of course, a radio show, podcast or the news can be a highly emotional experience as well. If you find it uncomfortable to drive in silence, keep the volume down and the channel on something low-key.
Talking with passengers
This can be particularly distracting if you have a car full of kids to contend with. However, even having friends, family or co-workers in the car can be distracting. You don’t want to be rude and not join in the conversation. However, if that’s what you need to do to stay safe, leave the conversation to others. Passengers, in turn, should avoid being loud or otherwise distracting to the driver.
We’ve all seen people applying mascara, brushing their hair or even painting their nails while driving. All of these things can take your hands and eyes off the road. Take that extra few minutes to finish your grooming ritual before you get in the car.
Studies have found that nearly two-thirds of all near-crashes involve food. Sometimes, the driver is busy finishing a burger on their lunch hour. Other times, they’re hunting for a rogue French fry under the seat. Still more dangerous is when someone spills hot coffee on themselves while driving. It’s safest to put your food in the backseat out of reach and your beverage in a secure holder.
By avoiding distractions, you can be better prepared for the unexpected on the road. However, if you suffer injuries in a crash caused by a driver who wasn’t so conscientious, find out what your legal options are for seeking compensation.