Insurance Agent, Auto InsuranceThere’s a time and place for everything. Anything beyond that is a distraction. For drivers, though, distractions could mean danger on the road, possibly leading to harmful and fatal accidents.

In a report from the Liberty Mutual Research Institute For Safety, statistics point to how in-vehicle distractions resulted to 3,328 deaths in 2012, and contributed to injuries that number to more than 421,000. A list put together by the American Automobile Association and the Canadian Automobile Association follows the same idea: while the highest percentage of distracted driving accidents involves external factors, all the rest on the list are due to in-vehicle distractions, including:

  • Crowds/events: 29.9 percent
  • Fiddling with the radio controls: 11.4 percent
  • Passengers: 10.9 percent
  • Something moving in the car: 4.3 percent
  • Using another device while driving: 2.9 percent
  • Fixing the car’s climate controls: 2.8 percent
  • Food and drinks: 1.7 percent
  • Mobile phones: 1.5 percent

External factors

Based on these figures, the most number of distractions are caused by external factors. From pedestrians who illegally cross the street, forcing you to manically step on the brakes to squirrels and other furry, little animals with a death wish that come out of nowhere when you’re gunning down the road—external factors certainly top the list. So whenever you find yourself behind the wheel, be sure to keep this in mind and get yourself—and your reflexes—ready for anything.

Adjusting the car’s settings

According to an article on the Geared site, one of the most common habits that prove detrimental to the safety of drivers everywhere is that tendency to fiddle with controls. From the car’s temperature control to the radio settings and even the windows while driving, drivers end up getting into a whole lot of trouble because of these habits. To fix this, try to have your playlist ready before you drive so you won’t have to fiddle with controls anymore—and get into an accident, in a moment’s inattention. Of course, make sure that playlist doesn’t contain any surprises. You wouldn’t want to cause a road collision all because a rock song made you pull the steering wheel hard to the left, straight into another car.

Pets and friends inside the car

This includes people, pets and basically anything that moves inside the car. Driving takes focus. Passengers often forget that. Engaging in a conversation with friends might be nice but it could distract the driver from paying attention to when the light has turned red or when it’s time to finally switch lanes—up until it’s too late.

Food, drinks and smokes

While these three don’t cause distractions by themselves, eating, drinking and smoking do. Anything that takes the driver’s attention away from the road, even for a split second, could be dangerous. That includes anything from polishing up a burger to taking sips out of your early morning latte and even having your first stick for the day.

Mobiles, tablets and other gadgets

Calling someone, texting or just generally trying to do something with another gadget while behind the wheel is one of the worst driving habits there is. No matter how careful you are, dividing your attention between that call and the road isn’t the smartest thing to do.

According to the same Liberty Mutual Research Institute For Safety report, “in-vehicle glances as brief as two seconds can have a serious effect on a driver’s ability to notice an upcoming hazard. And drivers are typically unaware of the extent of this impaired ability to react safely.”

If you need to make a call, stop the car by the roadside. That’s safer, not just for you and your passengers but for your fellow drivers out there too.

Given the risk, more drivers should be aware of the dangers that a moment’s inattention—that quick look at the dashboard or reply to a text message—especially those involving in-vehicle distractions, could do. And do well to avoid them.

So keep safe on the road. Take the necessary precautions. And if you want to cover all your bases, make sure you get covered. Ask our reliable insurance agent to get you started.