The possibility of getting into an accident is a reality drivers (and passengers) have to live with. In the Philippines, aside from not having strong basics on safe driving, 79% of car crashes are caused by human error, and one of these errors can be in the form of driving distractions.
There are times when even a split-second glance away from the road is enough to put you in danger. Here are five things that can get you distracted from driving:
1. Texting and Calling
Driving requires focus and texting is a distraction that takes it away from the road.
A call on speaker mode or through a hands-free headset makes driving just as difficult. With your mind on the conversation and not on the road, the odds that you get to a fender bender rise, so put it away.
If you do have to make a call or text owing to an emergency, find a space to park first.
Read more: The Anti-Distracted Driving Act: How Helpful Is It in Preventing Road Accidents?
Younger drivers with their friends in the car are more prone to getting into an accident if the driver gets distracted by everyone else's conversation. Backseat drivers and fidgety passengers (mostly children) can distract the driver.
One thing you can do is make it clear that it’s your car, so it's your rules to ensure that the backseat drivers and the road-raging ones check themselves. Give the fidgety passengers something to distract themselves with during the trip.
Read more: 5 Things That Could Happen Once MMDA Implements the Single-Passenger Ban
3. Eating, Drinking, and Smoking
Something as menial as taking a sip of your morning coffee can make you lose focus briefly. Eating may actually take up one hand as you drive, as does smoking.
Eating as you drive makes for unstable, one-handed driving, and increases the risk of you crashing, or having to compensate in other ways. Smoking, on the other hand, means that you need to crack open a window, reach for a cigarette and light up. The smoke you exhale may also obscure your vision. You may find yourself on a collision course by choosing to smoke, eat, or drink as you drive.
Read more: The Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act
More commonly known as ‘usisero/usisera’ behavior, you become significantly distracted when happening upon scenes on the road as you drive. For example, happening upon an accident as you drive may make you curious enough to suddenly slow down and look, effectively diverting your attention from the drivers in front of, and behind you.
For example, seeing an accident zone can make you slow down and look, which diverted your attention from the drivers in front of, and behind you.
5. Adjusting Car Settings
The advancement in technology in cars has been staggering. Certain cars allow for instant connectivity and voice commands. These voice commands allow you to make calls, send texts, or update social media.
While it may seem safe, your attention will be split on a more mental level, as it takes a measure of attention to what you say in order to make the voice commands work.
As with using a phone, hands-free doesn’t equate safety. Changing car settings, like the AC, or the radio station, is the same. It’d be best to make adjustments to your driving conditions before you leave instead.
Some of these distractions pose minor threats to your concentration, but this should not be ignored. It still remains ideal that when driving, one keeps their eyes and focus on the road.
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