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What are the most distracting things drivers do?

Distracted driving remains a far too pervasive issue on Canadian roads. In fact, some studies estimate that roughly 80 percent of accidents involve some amount of driver distraction. This statistic is especially troubling because distraction is typically a completely preventable behavior for drivers. 

Knowing what the most distracting things a driver can do behind the wheel are can help readers be mindful of them so they can avoid them – and the accidents that could result.

Three types of distractions

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention breaks distractions among motorists into three categories: visual, cognitive and manual. Distractions can fit into one or more of these categories.

Some of the most common examples of visually distracted driving behaviors include the following:

  • Looking at a phone
  • Watching a video
  • Scrolling through playlist
  • Taking selfies
  • Recording something outside the vehicle

Examples of cognitive distractions include:

  • Daydreaming
  • Getting in a fight with someone on the phone or in the car
  • Listening to an audiobook
  • Having a discussion with kids in the backseat
  • Being highly stressed, sad, angry or upset about something

Manual distractions behind the wheel can include:

  • Reaching in the backseat for something
  • Typing something on a phone or GPS
  • Eating
  • Grooming
  • Feeling around on the floor for a dropped item

These actions can all be distracting in ways that make someone unable to drive safely and maintain control of their vehicle. Generally speaking, the more distracting something is, the more dangerous it is. For instance, reading an upsetting text on the phone can take a driver’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and attention away from driving.

Stay focused and stay safe

Whether you are driving across town to the grocery store or across the border for a job interview, staying focused on driving can ensure you reach your destination safely. 

That said, other drivers may not make the same efforts, so if another person hits you and causes physical or emotional damage, holding them accountable for their negligence or recklessness behind the wheel can be an option worth considering.