The move to apprehend motorists who use their mobile devices when driving is one good move to avoid road mishaps usually caused by “driver error.” But there are actually more than a dozen things that can cause a driver to lose concentration behind the wheel that are totally unrelated to the use of mobile devices.
So Fast Times has come up with a list of a dozen more things that can distract a driver’s attention and potentially cause an accident, especially along the expressways and mountain roads.
1. Stuffed toys on the dashboard – Congress should enact a law banning placement of stuffed toys on the dashboard of a vehicle, because this can obstruct forward visibility. Stuffed toys are cute, but getting into accident because they distracted your attention when driving definitely isn’t.
2. Objects hanging from the windshield – whether these are stuffed toys, crucifix or religious items, or what have you, these types of things also distract forward visibility.
3. Unnecessary stickers on the windshield – the only stickers that should be fastened on the windshield are those related to vehicle registration and authorization to enter a subdivision or complex.
4. Reflections of the dashboard onto the windshield – this is rather tricky, because very little can be done to avoid this unless you install a black matting or cover on the dashboard. Just be careful or mindful when the dashboard of a vehicle reflects on the windshield, which means you are facing the sun and will also have to be aware of how the sun can distract your attention. So in case you see reflections of the dashboard onto the windshield, just exercise more caution when driving.
5. Loud music – loud music not only lessens concentration, it also makes it impossible for a motorist to hear the honking of the horns of other vehicles.
6. Television/videos – Watching television or videos when driving, especially along the highways, expressways and mountain roads, is one good way to get into an accident.
7. Talkative passengers, unruly kids – conversing too much when driving can definitely divide your attention toward the road, so if you have a talkative passenger, tell him or her in a nice manner that you cannot converse and drive at the same time. As for unruly kids, especially those who jump (literally) inside a vehicle, the only measure is to scold them or tell them that an accident can happen because of their unruliness.
8. Unnecessary gauges, complex dashboard setups – some motorists install additional gauges on the dashboard of their vehicles just to create a “cool” interior. But the reality is that unnecessary gauges can distract a driver’s attention on the road, especially if the habit of reading them every kilometer becomes a habit. Some racecars may need additional gauges but that is a different case; so just make do with what’s usually on the dashboard like speedometer, tachometer (for engine speed), engine temperature gauge, and fuel gauge.
While there are carmakers that keep the dashboard of a vehicle truly functional, there are a few that overdo the design to a point that it is hard to fiddle with the controls. And believe me – not all motorists would devote time to studying what is on the dashboard of a vehicle the way they would study for an examination for a subject they are on the verge of failing.
9. Eating and drinking – it should always be a no-no for a driver to eat and/or drink behind the wheel. Maybe taking a sip of water or eating a small portion of a biscuit or bread may be okay. But eating a hamburger and drinking from a bottle or cup (without a straw) can be a distraction. So if you have to eat or take a snack, just look for a place where you can do exactly that – eat or take a snack.
10. Books and other reading materials – reading a book or anything when driving, including a text message, can greatly divide your attention toward the road. So reserve reading books or any type of literature for the home.
11. Arguments – a driver should at all cost avoid arguments and debates with any of his or her passengers, because that could make him or her emotional and lose composure when driving. Passengers should also be reminded of the need not to debate or argue with the driver of a vehicle.
12. Flirtatious passenger beside the driver – self- explanatory.
So when driving, remember that devoting almost all your attention toward the road is the best way to reach your destination.