Have You Caused an Accident?

Typically when I get behind the wheel, I have a little ritual I run through. Put seatbelt on, make sure my cargo is secure, get my phone out to map my route, and I usually turn on Pandora to my Justin Timberlake station. Then off I go, thinking very little that my trip will result in my safe arrival at my destination.

I’m a huge proponent of no texting and driving. Not being a big phone talker to begin with is helpful. Talking while driving doesn’t happen that much, but when it does, I’m usually in a rush (read: running late). According to a new study, this tends to be when I’m most likely to be in an accident .

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did a study on the top 10 driving distractions.  I can relate. Can you?

#10 Daydreaming – Um, yes. I’m so guilty of this. Especially when I’m driving by myself for anything longer than 10 minutes. Sometimes if I’m going to someplace super important, I’ll daydream how the event will play out.

#9 Smoking – I’m 12 years a non-smoker. When I did smoke back in college this was a big distraction for me. Looking for my lighter, trying not to drop my lit cigarette on my lap. Or the worst, flicking it out the window only for it to come back in my car and burn a hole in my back seat.

#8 Talking/singing to myself – Justin Timberlake Pandora station. Need I say more?

#7 External distractions – I actually think this isn’t a bad thing. Especially with more motorcycles, scooters, and cyclists sharing the road. However, there was a time when I saw the first billboard I designed and almost ran a red light. Good thing my boyfriend was in the car to yell at me!

#6 Eating – Again guilty. Usually I’m opening a bottle of water while on my way to the gym. I still haven’t figured out why I can’t open it during my little ritual or at a stoplight. Not keeping both eyes on the road has resulted in a few close calls or big swerves.

#5 Applying makeup – Guys would relate to using a razor. I’ve only applied makeup while in the passenger seat, usually because I’m running late. My Jeep is a manual, so unless I grow another arm, I need one hand on the wheel and one on the stick shift.

#4 Changing the radio station – Not Guilty! Good thing it’s hard for me to get sick of JT!

#3 Reaching for a falling object – My cargo is typically secure, but in the off chance my phone falls, I do go to reach for it right away. Learning to be patient and wait for a light or stop sign would probably benefit me, as well as others.

#2 Talking to my passenger – This one time I got so distracted I got lost. As in, I was so enthralled in the story I was telling that I missed the exit I needed and drove for another 25 minutes! I guess we weren’t really lost, but adding almost another hour to our trip wasn’t a good thing.

#1 Using a wireless device – Not texting or talking on the phone while driving is probably the only reason I don’t have more accidents on my record. When I see other drivers on their phone roll through a stop sign or almost hit a pedestrian or don’t yield for a cyclist, I’m glad for the rules I’ve set for myself.

Now while my driving record isn’t perfect, reading these top 10 distractions will definitely have me thinking twice about my driving habits, and I can start by adjusting my little ritual.