The Most Dangerous Things To Do Behind the Wheel

Thomas Jeter • August 28, 2014

The Most Dangerous Things To Do Behind the Wheel

The North Carolina Department of Transportation reports that in 2012, 23.2 percent of motor vehicle crashes in the state were due to a distracted driver. With so many distracted driving campaigns focusing on cellphone use, it can be easy to overlook a number of other behaviors that can result in an accident or traffic citation.

 Here are five of the most dangerous behaviors drivers can engage in while operating their vehicles:

 1.     Texting or talking, hands-free or not

It is well-known that manually using a phone is extremely dangerous. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that sending a text message will cause you to take your eyes off the road for an average of five seconds. Many people think that using a hands-free device eliminates the risk of being on the phone while driving. However, a study from the University of Utah found that speech-based technology still demands a driver’s attention, posing what researchers deemed a “moderate risk.”

 2.     Rubbernecking

It happens every day: There is a wreck on the side of the road, and drivers slow down to get a look at what happened. Or perhaps there is another attraction that causes drivers to take their eyes off the road. No matter what the sight is, it is a distraction that can prevent a driver from seeing an important traffic sign, a braking vehicle or debris in the road. Additionally, drivers who take their eyes off the road are more likely to swerve or otherwise lose control of their vehicles.

3.     Reaching for items in the car

 You drop your phone or young backseat passengers demand for a toy that has fallen between the seats. The result is trying to blindly find the object with one hand while steering the car with the other.  The American Automobile Association recommends avoiding an accidenty by waiting until the car is in a parked position before reaching for items.

4.     Grooming

 Travelers Insurance reports that fixing your hair or putting on makeup in the car makes you three times more likely to get into an accident. Instead you should get ready at home or wait until you arrive at your destination to finish grooming.

5.     Eating

ExxonMobil conducted a study that revealed that 70 percent of drivers admit to eating behind the wheel, and 83 percent said they drink beverages while driving. Grabbing a quick bite may seem harmless, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that giving in to your appetite while driving can greatly increase the odds of a traffic accident or a near-miss.

While the priority should be on staying safe and avoiding an accident, it is important to note that all these behaviors can also merit a traffic citation. Depending on the situation, a distracted driving ticket can constitute as reckless driving, which comes with hefty fines and insurance consequences. At Nosal & Jeter, LLP we are committed to helping clients avoid the problems a South Carolina traffic ticket can cause.