7 Deadly Driving Distractions, Other Than Texting, And How To Handle Them
A new law passed in Utah targets texting while driving, supposedly making it easier for law enforcement officers to tell when a motorist is up to no good with their cellphone. According to Republican State Senator Stephen Urquhart, who sponsored the bill in the state’s Legislature, it is now unlawful for Utahns to “send, write, or read text messages.” But the law doesn’t stop there. It also targets the following.
The logic here is that you have plenty of time before starting your trip to program the coordinates and begin your route. Of course, there are times when you have to recalculate due to a bad turn or faulty information. In that case, it’s best to pull off at a gas station or random parking lot, collect your thoughts, and find a new path. A few seconds of taking your eyes off the road are all it takes to cause a potentially fatal crash.
Fiddling With The Bluetooth On Your Phone.
This is one that I’ve realized can be a real distraction since purchasing a car that has the Bluetooth connectivity. There is something quite liberating about listening to your customized Internet radio stations through the iHeartRadio, Pandora, or Spotify, apps. But trying to figure out what to listen to ahead of time, can be just as distracting, if not more so, as texting while driving. Recommendation: save your playlists ahead of time and get them set up before ever backing out of the driveway. Or, if you want your Bluetooth device to surprise you, shuffle your stations/playlists/singles, and then set out on your destination.
Checking Email Or Surfing The Web (Yes, It Really Does Happen.)
Yes, smartphones have made it easier to see what emails you have at a glance, but there is still nothing that can be gained from partaking in one of these activities. Returning an email is way too time consuming to do safely while driving, and as earlier alluded to, it only takes a few seconds for something to happen on the road that requires your immediate attention. That rules out typing in URLs, checking Facebook, or making Twitter updates.
If talking on the phone while driving has gotten somewhat safer due to hands-free devices, the act of dialing still demands too much attention unless you have a voice-activated system that connects to the contacts list on your phone. Wisely, this, too, was a target of the new Utah law.
While the law dealt specifically with smartphones and other mobile devices, here are a few more deadly driving distractions that are equally worthy of consideration for future legislation — that is, if laws aren’t already on the books.
Eating while driving.
Fast food drive-thrus are your enemy. Pull over and eat quickly if you can’t afford the time expenditure. It’s better to be a few minutes late than to file a costly claim or worse.
We still know people who brush their teeth, apply makeup, and comb their hair, while trying to steady the steering wheel with their knees.
Changing The Radio Station.
This still commands a brief moment of your eyesight — just long enough for someone to pull out in front of you.
Texting while driving rightly gets a lot of attention from legislators throughout the United States, but the truth is, distracted driving goes well beyond this one activity. Whether laws exist on the books that ban the above activities or not, we suggest you steer clear and make your time behind the wheel be about arriving safely and securely to your destination.