In a time where everyone is constantly on the go, it is easy to justify eating behind the wheel or putting on mascara at a red light. But these seemingly minuscule actions can be the most dangerous distractions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, activities such as eating and drinking, applying makeup, adjusting music and climate and driving with a moving animal in the car (like your dog) together make up a large portion of annual distraction-induced accidents.
One of the most common distractions while driving is eating and drinking behind the wheel. Too often a French fry lands on the floor or we need an extra napkin, and our attention is taken away from our number one priority – to get from point A to point B safely. If you must eat on the go, try planning 10 minutes into your day to sit in your parked car to eat. It’s not that long of a break, and it could save a life!
Another all-too-common distraction is putting on makeup while driving. This is often more dangerous than eating while driving because while you can realistically keep your eyes on the road to eat, you need to take your eyes off the road and up to a mirror to apply makeup. It doesn’t matter if you’re stopped at a red light or in traffic – to be a responsible driver is to be aware of what is going on around you. Using the rearview mirror as a vanity puts drivers at an even greater risk for accidents because the mirror is often tilted toward the driver and not the road. This prevents drivers from seeing merging cars, motorcycles and emergency vehicles. If you’re running late or don’t have time to do your makeup at home, bring it with you and apply once you get to your destination.
While we all love cruising around town with Fido in the back seat, unrestrained pets can cause serious problems for distracted driving. According to a survey by AAA and Kurgo, 65 percent of dog owners admit to petting or holding their dog while driving, as well as reaching back and taking photos of their animals. It only takes two seconds of distracted driving to increase the risk of an accident, and these activities threaten not only your safety but the safety of your pets. Airbags can seriously injure your four-legged friend, so the safest place for pets is the backseat. Seat restraints like pet seat belts or pet carriers can seem too constricting, but it’s typically only for short periods of time and can keep your pup, as well as everyone around you, safe.
By planning ahead and making simple and effective adjustments to your routine, you reduce your accident risk behind the wheel. Travel with Care Auburn’s goal is to get drivers from point A to point B in the safest way possible. Making these small adjustments to limit distractions helps keep you and other commuters accident-free.