We all know it’s dangerous to drive under the influence, but that’s not the only danger behind the wheel these days. All too often accidents occur because of distracted drivers and the numbers are getting pretty scary. In fact, according to recent National Academy of Sciences data, 36%, or four million, of the 11 million annual U.S. crashes, would be avoided if folks were not distracted behind the wheel.
So, what are some of the worst distractions drivers are guilty of?
- Using the car radio – Yes, changing the station on your radio may seem innocent enough but it can actually be pretty dangerous. The study found that operating the radio, which can get pretty intricate if you’re using an iPod or MP3 player, can double the risk of a crash.
- Using a touch screen menu – Most new cars come with such touch screen technology, and taking your eyes off the road to use one increases the risk factor for a crash by 4.6.
- Texting while driving – Nobody should be surprised that this one’s on the list, although believe it or not, it’s not the worst distraction out there. The NAS reports that a driver who texts behind the wheel is 6.1 times more likely to get into a crash.
- Reaching for an object – If something falls or slips in your car you really want to just let it go. Reaching for your phone as it flies off the seat is simply a bad idea because a driver’s field of vision is altered. And reaching for that item makes a driver nine times more likely to get into an accident.
- Dialing a phone – While most people don’t actually make calls these days, doing so behind the wheel is the biggest distraction. The NAS reports that dialing the ten digits necessary to complete a call makes you 12.2 times more likely to get into a crash. And if you think using your phone hands free is any better you’d be wrong. The study found that in 2014, 26% of all accidents involved someone using a hand-held or hands-free device.
Source: CBS News