Now that we’re finally starting to see signs of spring here in Eureka, it seems like everyone is much busier than they were during the gray days of winter. Traffic has picked up considerably, and that means that we all need to watch the road a little more carefully. This can be particularly challenging for teens and other young drivers who haven’t developed a strategy for dealing with distractions while driving.
Distractions Other Than Texting and Talking
Most people know by now that driving while texting or talking on the phone are activities that can provide significant distraction, no matter what the age of the driver. But there are less obvious scenarios that can also have a negative impact on the amount of attention that the driver is paying to the road. For instance, teen drivers often carry friends and siblings as passengers, and lively conversation can be distracting. Loud music can also interfere with concentration.
Smoking poses another threat to the ability of drivers to give the road their undivided attention. Besides lighting up, putting ashes in the ashtray and putting the cigarette out, there is also the danger of the cigarette being dropped while lit.
Pets, insects and even mice can cause significant distractions while driving. Furry friends are better off riding in pet carriers in the car. Even the most sedate dog can become agitated, particularly when unfamiliar surroundings are involved. Stinging insects flying loose in vehicles can cause panic among both passengers and drivers, and mice have been known to crawl inside cars for warmth at night only to frighten drivers by scampering around wildly on the floor of the vehicle once it’s in motion. Checking car interiors for signs of insects and rodents before pulling out of the driveway is an excellent way to cut down on distractions caused by unexpected passengers.
Eating and Driving is Distracting
Eating and drinking while driving is another top distraction that leads to reduced concentration among drivers. Although it’s tempting to swing through the drive-up window for fast food and beverages, parking the car for the duration of the meals will keep drivers, passengers and others on the road safer. Hot beverages can be particularly distracting if they splash or spill onto the driver while the car is in motion.
It can be tough for drivers not to stare when they witness something unusual or interesting outside the car window, but this causes them to take their eyes off the road. Whether it is a car accident or another distraction, drivers should always keep their focus on the road before them.
With Eureka high school students looking forward to prom in May, many teen drivers need a refresher course in awareness concerning the dangers of distracted driving.