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Eating, pets and rubbernecking all common sources of distraction

In the past we've discussed numerous times the dangers associated with distracted driving. In these posts we tend to focus on the risks associated with talking on a cellphone or texting while driving. And while these driving behaviors do certainly increase the risk of getting into a car accident, there are also plenty of other distractions drivers engage in that also increase the chance of getting into a motor vehicle accident.

According to a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, of those asked, 86 percent admitted to eating or drinking while driving. Another 41 percent also messed with their GPS while behind the wheel and 14 percent admitted to putting on makeup while driving.

When it comes to eating and drinking while driving, while it's understandable that some people just can't find the time to sit down and eat, keep in mind that even something as simple as drinking a cup of coffee while driving means a person is continuously taking at least one hand off of the steering wheel. And then what happens if the hot coffee spills? This can be startling enough to lead to a driver jerking the wheel.

Pets are also reportedly a real problem in the car. In fact, many owners do not restrain their dog or cat in the car. Of those asked, 52 percent admitted to partaking in a distracting behavior with their animal companion in the car, like petting. Another 17 percent also reported allowing their dog to sit on their lap when driving. This is obviously very distracting.

Lastly, rubbernecking -- or slowing down to look over at an accident -- is also a huge cause of accidents. With this, people are often more interested in what is happening on the side of the road than right in front of them.

The hope is that by taking note of some of these common distractions, drivers will take steps to prevent them. This could mean eating breakfast at home, restraining the family dog in the car and not letting curiosity get the best of them when passing an accident.


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