Automotive Fleet Magazine offered a brief article on five key distractions that can lead to crashes, but don’t receive nearly as much publicity as texting and hand-held phones.
Here are some selective quotes from their article (whcih can be accessed by this link — http://www.automotive-fleet.com/channel/safety-accident-management/article/story/2013/10/5-forgotten-driver-distractions-to-wreck-ognize.aspx):
1. Eating Causes Driver Mistakes
Eating while driving is riskier than talking/listening to a handheld device, according to NHTSA. After reviewing a 2006 crash-risk analysis, NHTSA found that the extended glance length of eating while driving caused a 1.57:1 crash-risk ratio while talking/listening to a handheld device while driving caused a 1.29:1 crash-risk ratio.
2. Don’t Resist a Rest
Drowsy driving reduces response time, which increases the crash risk ratio 4.24:1, according to NHTSA. Drowsiness typically has more to do with time-of-day rather than time-on-task.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) reported that drowsy driving is two times more likely to occur during the first hour of a work shift, because drivers are not fully refreshed and awake when they begin their day.
3. Living in a Dream World
In 2013, Erie Insurance Company released its Fatality Analysis Reporting System, which reviewed nationwide crash data between 2010 and 2011. According to the data, police listed drivers as “lost in thought” 62 percent of the time as the cause of vehicle collisions.
4. Limit In-Car Entertainment
Controls, displays, and driver aids are standard driving tools today. After observing drivers who were instructed to perform radio tuning, NHTSA recorded that crash-risk increased after the driver’s eyes left the road for more than 2 seconds. Furthermore, NHTSA research noted that a task should not take longer than 12 seconds.
5. Put a Lid on Sightseeing
Drivers should constantly scan the road, but should not fixate on objects surrounding the road. According to the FMCSA, drivers who fixate on external objects — e.g., people, billboards, and landmarks — are likely to enter into a blind gaze where they are not paying attention to the road.