The pundits were right, after all: If transport authorities want the Anti-Distracted Driving Act to achieve its noble goal of minimizing road accidents, they should look beyond communication devices.
Studies suggest that calling or texting while driving makes the driver just as impaired as when under the influence of alcohol. Further research has found that mobile phone use while on the wheel delays one’s braking reactions by at least three seconds.
But while, according to a 2015 report by the National Statistics Office, mobile phone use accounts for one of the main causes of traffic accidents, other distractions are just as bad as fiddling with your phone.
If you want to stay safe while you are on the road, keep your eyes on the road and steer clear from these activities.
Smoking kills. Drivers who smoke don’t just inhale harmful chemicals; they also tend to keep their eyes and mind off the road. Driving with one hand also reduces your control over the vehicle, even during heavy traffic. In addition, vaping inside your vehicle can reduce visibility, which can obfuscate your view and cause some serious driver miscalculation.
2. Playing loud music
While some music or early morning talk show will keep you company during the morning rush, playing loud music while driving has been proven to be a factor in some accidents caused by distracted driving. A research published at Accident Analysis and Prevention found that people who play loud music in the car have “significantly more driving errors when they were listening to their own music, including dangerous behaviors like speeding, aggression, and weaving.”
3. Chatting with passengers
Going on a road trip with other people seems fun, and as a driver, your main goal is to take you and your passengers to your destination safely and unscathed. But according to news site LiveScience, drivers were found to be “six times more likely to have a serious driving incident—such as a collision, near collision, or loss of control—when there was a loud conversation in the car, compared to when there were no loud conversations.”
While grabbing some grub in the middle of a drive spells convenience, eating while driving can take your mind off the road and distract you. According to Decide to Drive, an organization that aims to stop distracted driving, “Eating and driving often incorporates a combination of one or more distractions. Drivers must unwrap food packaging, use napkins, hold the food with at least one hand, apply condiments and complete other activities while operating a vehicle. This makes eating while driving a particularly dangerous activity.”
5. Having your passenger take a photo of you
Nothing is safe these days; not even the innocuous selfie has zero risks. While we’ve heard stories of selfies gone wrong, asking your bud to snap a photo—whether of you or the car of the erring driver in front of you—is just as dangerous as texting while driving.