Far too many people mistakenly believe that mobile devices are the only real source of distraction on the road. In reality, distraction can take infinite forms for drivers. In some cases, it isn't even a tangible distraction, but rather something in their head that they focus on instead of the task at hand.
Understanding the various forms of distraction that drivers occasionally engage in can help you avoid these forms of distraction. You can also be on the lookout for individuals showing telltale signs of various kinds of distracted driving.
Conversations with other people are a major source of distraction
Most people know to be on the lookout for somebody actively talking on a mobile phone while driving, especially if the conversation is very animated. Fewer people understand the potential dangers involved with distraction related to other people in the vehicle. Conversations with passengers can keep the driver from devoting their full attention to arriving at their destination safely.
Internal distraction is one of the leading causes of distracted crashes
Not all distraction comes from other people or things. In fact, some of the most dangerous distraction comes from within yourself. It is common for people to let their minds wander when they drive. Some people daydream, while others fixate on the current drama at work.
Whenever you take your mind off of the road, you engage in mental distraction. This may mean that it takes longer for you to focus on the situation when something changes. That, in turn, can increase your reaction time and the overall risk of a collision.
Eating, drinking and grooming shouldn't happen in the vehicle
Far too many people want to multitask at the wheel. For professionals commuting to work or those headed to an after work activity, the temptation may be there to attempt to get ready while driving. Whether someone wants to change their shirt, apply makeup or straighten their tie, these are things that should be done when you park your vehicle, not while you're in motion.
Similarly, you might imagine that quickly eating a meal on your way to your destination isn't a big deal. However, eating means taking a hand off the wheel and your focus off the road. Your mind will be more intent on the cheeseburger in your hand than on the road in front of you.
The most important thing that you can do to keep yourself safe is to focus exclusively on driving. Monitoring your own vehicle, the road and other vehicles simultaneously takes a lot of effort. When you diminish the attention you pay to the task at hand, you increase your overall risk of a crash. Avoid distraction, and you increase the chances of arriving safely at your destination.