You might think that it will never happen to you but just a brief lapse of concentration or a few seconds when you take your eyes off the road can have disastrous consequences.
Road traffic accidents and fatalities happen on our roads every day of the year and it only takes a very brief moment in time for things to go badly wrong.
Here is a look at some of the classic sources of driver distractions that can quickly lead to you becoming one of those driver statistics, including the danger of getting lost in thought, why it pays to resist the temptation of adjusting various controls, plus some other pointers on common causes of distracted driver accidents.
When your mind wanders
There are plenty of distractions to be wary of when you get behind the wheel of a car and while you may set out on your journey with every intention to give your 100% attention to the task of driving your car safely, it can be all too easy for your mind to wander.
Some aspects of daily driving can be repetitive and mundane, especially if you are taking the same route that you take on a daily basis, but this is a classic scenario where your mind starts to wander from the task of keeping an eye on the road ahead and the driving conditions.
One of the biggest causes of distracted driving accidents is when the driver becomes lost in thought and becomes far more vulnerable to having an accident because of a lack of concentration.
Hands-free is not without its risks
If you get caught by the police authorities driving with a cell phone in your hand, you might soon get to appreciate the importance of good car accident lawyers.
Car accident figures suggest that cellphone use is the second-biggest cause of distraction-related accidents and fatalities.
Holding the phone in your hand is never a good idea, but even if you have hands-free connected via Bluetooth in your vehicle, the fact that you are having a conversation while driving can still cause you to lose concentration and have an accident.
Some drivers now take the precaution of turning their phone off or storing it away while they are driving, so that they are not distracted during their journey.
Set your route before you start driving
Many of us use the car SatNav system to guide us to a destination but it seems that a fair number of us try to set up their route planner while driving along.
Trying to search and set your route after you have already started your journey can be considered as dangerous as texting while driving and every second you spend looking at the screen is the time where you are not looking at the road ahead.
Enjoy your music entertainment with care
Another major cause of distracted driving is when you are searching for a suitable radio station or adjusting the controls.
If your car has volume controls and other radio functions on the steering wheel, it is normally better to use these while keeping your eye on the road ahead, rather than trying to adjust the volume or tune to a new station by turning your attention to the knobs on the console itself.
Passengers can be a major distraction
If you have any passengers in the car it is perfectly understandable that you might want to engage in a conversation with them while you are driving.
However, it is very concerning to note how many distracted driving accidents occur as a result of the driver losing their focus of attention because of talking to another occupant in the vehicle.
Your priority should always be to prioritize your driving over any sort of socializing, which will help keep everyone in the car safer anyway.
Keeping kids under control
Driving with kids as passengers in the car is always going to be a challenge as you feel like you have to keep one eye on the road and the other on seeing what they are getting up to in the back.
Try to make sure that they have plenty of things to keep them amused while you are driving. If they are well-behaved and entertained it should ensure that you are not tempted to take your eyes off the road and turn around to see what all the noise is about at the back.
Keeping yourself fed and watered
Modern cars are designed to make us as comfortable as possible with plenty of cup holders to hold your drinks safely while you are driving.
The problem with eating and drinking in the car is that it can be distracting to keep reaching over for a drink or something to eat, meaning you could briefly lose your focus on what is going on ahead of you.
Don’t be tempted to smoke in the car
There are plenty of medical reports around that tell you about the perils of smoking and how it affects your health and those around you, but that is not the only reason why smoking in the car can be a bad idea.
A small percentage of road traffic accidents are attributed to the driver being distracted while lighting or putting out a cigarette.
Smoking in the car is not worth any of the risks associated with this activity.
Distractions outside of the car
Looking at something going on outside of the vehicle, such as another accident, will quickly increase your chances of having the same thing happen to you.
Beware of distractions away from the car that can take your eyes and mind away from the task of concentrating on driving.
If you are on your way to a meeting or catching up with a friend it can be tempting to check how you look in the mirror and even attempt some grooming while on the move.
Don’t be tempted to do anything like apply some makeup or comb your hair while driving as it can easily lead to an accident in the blink of an eye.