In the last decade, the number of auto insurance claims that arise from distracted driving accidents has increased significantly. By definition, this is an accident caused by the fact that the involved driver wasn’t paying attention to the road.
While the use of mobile devices is a big contributor to the rise in distracted driving accidents, it is only one cause of the problem. Many other distractions exist in every car that could divert the driver’s attention from the road. It’s your responsibility to monitor your habits to make sure you are only focused on one thing—the road around you.
Keep in mind these three common mistakes that can help you deduce if you are a distracted driver.
You Don’t Remember Where You Have Just Driven
Driving involves a lot of muscle memory, and when you drive the same routes regularly, then you are likely to form a habit of doing so. While your brain helps you remember what route to take, you might not actively register going through an intersection, stopping at a stop sign, or accelerating or decelerating to follow the speed limit. This could mean that you’re driving distractedly. You might simply be lost in thought, but it’s still a diversion from the road ahead of you. This distraction might occur in an instant, but in that brief time, you might have driven into a very dangerous situation.
You Are Engaged in Conversation
It’s perfectly fine to have conversations with others in the car. However, the road has to be your primary focus, and the conversation should be secondary. That’s why you should avoid having intense conversations, arguments or debates while in the car. Those things can wait until you get where you are going. Even though you can carry on a conversation while driving, a high level of intensity puts you at risk of getting into an accident.
You Engage in Manual Activities While Driving
There are a lot of other activities besides cell phone use that could lead to distracted driving. Some people apply makeup, eat or do other activities while driving. Keep in mind, even if you check your phone while stopped at a stoplight, this is still a distraction, despite that you aren’t moving.
These actions can all lead to distractions, and if you have an accident then the fault could lie with you. Often, if at-fault accidents result in insurance claims, then it is your liability coverage that will compensate all third parties (i.e. other drivers) involved in the wreck. Still, this can cause your auto insurance rates to rise, and sometimes your insurer will even cancel your coverage because you’re too high of a risk to insure. Rather than putting yourself in a situation where you could engage in distracted driving, it’s better to do what you can to avoid the risk.