April is national Distracted Driving Awareness Month and according to 2018 Kentucky State Police data, distraction, cellphone use and inattention caused more than 57,022 crashes and 139 deaths in the state.
So, what are the causes of distracted driving? You’re probably aware of the common cases, which are texting, phone calls, eating or drinking, but here are four other causes that may come as a surprise:
1. Driving While Sad or Angry
You may like to jump in to the car to clear your head and go for a sunset cruise, but driving while angry, distressed or sad is a cause of distracted driving. Your full attention won’t be on the road, it will be on what is causing the anger or sadness.
If you are someone who likes to take a drive to clear your mind, try switching it up and going for a walk while listening to your favorite song or podcast – that way, you won’t be putting others at risk on the road.
2. Driving While Holding Your Bladder
This may come as a surprise, but driving while needing to use the restroom can impair judgement and focus. The need to use the restroom is probably going to cause you to drive faster than normal, so be sure to take plenty of rest stops if on a road trip. Also, be conscious of the amount of drinks consumed while driving.
3. Driving with Your Dog
Dogs and other animals are part of the family, which means they likely ride in the car. A dog can be a huge distraction when driving, so to help keep your eyes on the road, keep your furry friend in the back seat and preferably in a dog seat restraint.
4. Driving While Listening to Your Favorite Song
The feeling of your favorite song coming on the radio may urge you to have your own carpool karaoke or dance party, but doing so can be distracting. An imaginary microphone or a few dance moves will require removing your hands from the wheel, which is not safe. We all have a responsibility on the road to be cautious and watch out for others.
There’s no denying that the above distractions are likely to occur, but if you’re mindful, you will make better decisions in the future. Your life and other lives depend on it.