The average car in the United States weighs around 4,000 pounds. These vehicles travel at potentially lethal speeds, with many drivers even exceeding the country’s highest speed limits.
Many people take driving a car very casually. They grow bored and become accustomed to the daily commute. They get distracted. They break traffic laws.
They simply do not think about how they are in control of a 4,000-pound vehicle moving fast enough to seriously injure or kill anyone it strikes. Cars are so commonplace in modern society that people rarely consider the severity of accidents. This leads to careless driving, distractions and accidents.
Negligence and carelessness
To help illustrate this dangerous driving culture, here are the top 10 reasons for distracted driving, one of the most careless ways to operate a motor vehicle:
- Becoming lost in thought. Daydreaming, i.e., thinking about anything but the road ahead, puts others at risk. It is common, though, especially with drivers who take the same route every day. Boredom causes their thoughts to start wandering, and they stop paying attention to the road.
- Using cellphones. Young drivers especially have issues with cellphone distractions, as their phones and their social lives are so closely connected.
- Watching outside distractions. Keeping your eyes on the road can be tough with distractions like advertisements, pedestrians and even car accidents. Drivers crash because their eyes are looking elsewhere.
- Interacting with people inside the car. Friends often distract teens, while parents often face distractions from their kids.
- Reaching for devices. You may not be using that cellphone at the moment of the crash, but reaching for it after it falls below the seat means you’re not looking at the road.
- Drinking and eating. It’s fast and efficient to drink coffee on the way to work or eat a hamburger on the way home, but doing so means you do not concentrate 100 percent on the road. This is especially true after a spill.
- Using climate controls. Reaching for the AC during those hot summer months puts everyone in danger.
- Using other inner controls. Examples include adjusting the mirrors or reaching to put on a seat belt.
- Dealing with pets. Having animals in the car means extra noise and perhaps motion as they move around the vehicle. It can get very distracting. Some car accidents have also happened when insects or spiders moved near drivers.
- Smoking. Cars may come with cigarette lighters, but that does not mean using them is safe. Reaching to light the cigarette or put it out causes a potential distraction.
These may be the top 10 reasons, but they’re just a small sampling of potential distractions. With the risk level so high, anyone involved in a wreck needs to know their rights.