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3 behaviors that you may not realize count as distracted driving

On Behalf of | May 6, 2021 | Car Accidents

A lot of people are under the impression that using devices hands-free is safe. Hands-free use of smartphones, however, still causes distracted driving. According to the National Safety Council, drivers are four times more likely to crash when using a cell phone regardless of using it hands-free or not. You are only seeing half of the information in your environment when you use a cell phone while driving. Using your cell phone hands-free in Illinois is legal, but you shouldn’t use it unless you really need to.

1. Putting on makeup

You have to take your hands off of the wheel to put makeup on, which is a type of manual distraction. Your brain is no longer completely focused on driving when you apply makeup. Part of your focus is now on applying the lipstick, mascara or other makeup onto your face. Your reaction time to hazards on the road is also slower without both hands on the wheel.

2. Eating

Likewise, eating requires you to take your hands off of the steering wheel. While chewing your food, part of your brain is thinking about the flavors and textures. You should eat your food before driving or wait until you arrive at your destination. If you’re starving and in a rush, take just a few bites before driving to tide you over.

3. Changing the channel or song

Drivers find it natural to change the radio or song while they are driving without realizing it counts as distracted driving. You have to take a hand off of the wheel, and your brain is thinking of changing to the correct station or song. Most people think they are good at multitasking or at least doing two things at the same time. Research shows, however, that human brains don’t multitask. Your brain quickly changes tasks so fast that it makes you think you are multitasking. That split second where you change your focus to eating, putting on makeup or changing the music can cause car accidents.

Distracted driving occurs when your focus on driving wavers. Even arguing with someone in the car and changing the song count as distracted driving.