Driving can be dangerous business. Every year, a shocking number of people lose their life or are severely injured while traveling in vehicles. Unfortunately, most people think of driving as a boring yet necessary task. Instead of paying attention to what they’re doing behind the wheel and what is going on around them, these drivers engage in a number of dangerous activities. How many of the following ten dangerous things do you do while driving?
1. Text/surf the web.
Unless you have reflexes that rival that of a jet fighter pilot, you cannot text or surf the web safely while driving. Typing on a little phone or looking at your friend’s latest Facebook status update on the screen means you won’t see the car that just slammed on its brakes in front of you, or the little kid crossing the street. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse and take it out once the car is stopped.
2. Discipline your children.
Any parent knows that children become unruly from time to time in the car. Perhaps it’s because they know their parents are busy and cannot discipline them as easily, but it creates an incredibly dangerous scenario. If you are disciplining your children while you are supposed to be driving, at least the majority if not all of your attention will be on what’s going on inside the vehicle and not on what’s going on outside. The better way to handle the situation is to pull over, take care of the behavioral issues, and then continue on your way.
3. Get dressed.
Does anyone seriously not get this? Apparently there are some individuals who are so incredibly busy they cannot possibly get dressed before leaving their home and getting into their car. It’s almost impossible to steer a vehicle and keep your eyes on what’s going on ahead while pulling on a shirt, and you simply cannot keep even one hand on the steering wheel while tying knots or performing other tasks related to dressing.
4. Apply makeup/shave.
Again, doing either of these activities takes your attention from the road, where it should always be while you’re driving. Putting on eyeliner requires you to literally look up, while shaving requires you to move your head around. Both activities should be done either before you leave your house or after you get where you’re headed.
5. Eat a taco, ice cream cone or other certain foods.
Some people can manage to eat something simple like a burger while driving. There are some foods that are just plain dangerous for anyone to eat while driving. Tacos are notorious because they’re messy and fall apart when you bite into them, which is too much of a distraction. Stay away from overly greasy foods as well since the grease can make it difficult to really grip the steering wheel. Remember that if you do decide to eat behind the wheel, in an emergency situation you must be prepared to throw your food to your front passenger and take the wheel with both hands immediately.
6. Lean over to reach something.
Too often people drop a CD onto the floorboards, need a piece of gum out of their purse that’s sitting on the backseat, or feel the need to go through the glovebox while driving. Reaching so far to grab something that you lose sight of the vehicle’s surroundings is as bad as placing your hand over your eyes while driving down the road.
7. Fall asleep.
Driving while drowsy is incredibly dangerous. You might think that drinking coffee or an energy drink, rolling down the windows, chewing gum or even blasting loud music will keep you from dozing off, but the sad truth is many people fall asleep at the wheel while trying these tricks. If you do feel tired, find somewhere safe to park and get some sleep before continuing on.
8. Drink alcohol.
Sadly, some people still don’t get this one. Alcohol has an effect on your motor skills and judgment, meaning you just plain don’t drive well when buzzed. If you plan on driving, simply avoid drinking. If you do drink, have someone drive you home or call a cab.
9. Steer with your knees.
Sometimes you need two hands to do some things, such as driving. Unfortunately, certain individuals feel the need to perform two-handed tasks while driving, which is why they use their knees to steer. The only problem is your knees don’t grip the steering wheel and cannot control the car nearly as well. All it would take is one big pothole to make the car careen out of control.
10. Have an emotional phone conversation.
In some areas, talking on the phone while driving is illegal. If you live in an area where it’s not, you should most definitely avoid having an emotionally-charged conversation while driving. Studies have shown that people who are having an in-depth, emotional talk on the phone while behind the wheel actually drive as poorly as people who are legally drunk.