Dangerous Driving: 5 of the Most Dangerous Driving Distractions and How to Avoid Them

Distracted driving accounts for a high proportion of fatal car crashes and the sad truth is that most of these fatalities result from easily preventable causes.

Unfortunately, many people view driving as a daily activity and, hence, never give much thought to it. Today’s society is heavily affected by distracted driving, making this one of the most complex issues when it comes to roads accidents. The statistics on driving distractions are nothing but scary.

As a way of enlightening you about the dangers of getting carried away while driving, we look at some common distractions while driving.

Most Dangerous Driving Distractions

Getting distracted while driving can lead to deadly consequences. Read on for 5 of the most dangerous driving distractions and how you can avoid them.

The Categorisation of Driving Distractions

Distractions while driving are categorised into the following categories:

  • Cognitive distraction which is when you take your mind off the driving
  • Visual distraction is when you take your eyes off the road
  • Manual distraction signifies when you take your hands off the steering wheel.

Distractions while driving are many, and each fit under one of the above categories. Below we look at the top 5 driving distractions.

1. Using Your Mobile Phone

Mobile phones have become an important part of our lives due to their numerous benefits. However, they’re not short of unintended disadvantages, especially if used when driving. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 18% of all fatal accidents occur due to the use of cell phones while driving.

Mobile phone use while driving combines all three categories of driving distractions, making them extremely dangerous. When you use your phone to call or text, you’ll opt to take your eyes off the road, hands off the steering, and mind off the road. When combined, your entire concentration is on the phone, hence, increasing the risk of causing an accident.

Some ways that using a mobile phone can distract you include:


Texting while driving has become a trend with many drivers despite being dangerous. If you have this habit, remember that no text is worth answering while you’re behind the wheel.

Making or answering a phone call

At least 23% of drivers use their cell phones to make or receive calls while on the road. This not only distracts your attention from the road, but it can also mess with your emotions or cause you stress. To avoid putting your life at risk, consider ignoring the call until you’re safely parked to either answer or call back the caller.

Checking social media updates

This is another common phone misuse with many drivers and also equally dangerous as texting. Whether you want to update your Facebook friends about your whereabouts or want to check what’s trending on Twitter, using social media when driving is risky.

To prevent accidents caused by mobile phone use while on the road, refrain from checking your phone. If you the call is too important to ignore, first park your car and answer the phone or reply the text message.

As for social media, wait until you reach your destination. A simple tweet can easily incriminate you if faced by a car accident case.

2. Day Dreaming

Of all fatal accidents caused by distracted driving, at least 62% of these are as a result of daydreaming. The numbers of accidents caused by daydreaming are five times more than those caused by using a mobile phone while on the road.

What makes daydreaming most dangerous is that you feel completely aware of your surrounding, but in the real sense, consciously you’re not in contact with it. Do you doubt this? Well, how many times have you snapped back to attention after a long drive only to realise you’ve reached your destination?

It’s possible to subconsciously drive the vehicle as your conscious mind wanders off to other things. An emergency will snap you back to consciousness, but sometimes your response time may not be good enough. As a result, an accident might occur.

Although it’s not possible to fully eliminate daydreaming, you can try and minimise it using the following tips:

  • Ensure your eyes are constantly moving by changing your gaze at least every two minutes
  • Try interacting with your environment by visualising “what if” moments such as what if the car ahead stops suddenly?
  • Chew gum or something crunchy

3. Passengers, the Common but Unrecognised Driving Distractions

You may be aware of common driving distraction, such as using mobile phones and using pre-installed car screens. What you may not know is that your passengers can distract you while driving, resulting in a crash.

If you’re wondering how passengers could distract you while driving, here are some ways:

  • Joining the passengers in singing along when some good music comes on the radio
  • Parenting while driving when it’s your kids who’re the passengers
  • Getting carried away in a conversation between your passengers
  • Passing objects to passengers such as food or mobile phone

The first step to preventing accidents caused by passenger distractions is to acknowledge that passengers are a distracting risk. Reduce this risk by:

  • Minimising conversation between you and your passengers
  • Distracts the kids with toys or interesting books
  • Turn off the radio or music to minimise the temptation of singing
  • If you must pass over or receive something from a passenger, consider pulling over first

4. Listening to Music

You can easily get distracted while listening to the music on a CD player, iPod, or your car radio. The risk gets worse if you start flicking through your playlist or searching for a radio station. As good as playing music in the car may sound, consider the risk it poses to your life and those of your passengers.

The solution is not to turn on the radio or music player in your car while on the road.

5. Dozing Off

This problem is most common with long-distance drivers. Driving when tired can make you fall asleep or start dozing off while behind the wheel. Instead of risking your life, consider pulling off and looking for a cheap accommodation where you can rest before continuing with your journey.

Avoid Accidents by Practising Safer Driving Habits

Now that you understand what distractions while driving is and how to avoid them, it’s upon you to practice safer driving habits.

If you would like to minimise driving distractions checkout our app; it automatically blocks all notifications while you’re behind the wheel.