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The 9 Most Dangerous Distracted Driver Habits

8/10/2012
Distracted driving is a growing epidemic in America. In-car technology, whether hand-held or integrated into the vehicle, is significantly compounding the problem, to the point that Nevada has given Google permission to test driverless automated cars on its public roadways. With several car companies working on bringing automated vehicles to market, it seems it will be a matter of time before a car becomes nothing more than a personal transportation pod.

Below is a list of the 9 most dangerous distracted-driving habits.

1.    Texting. Text messaging is one of the most dangerous things a person can do while driving. Not only does it reduce situational awareness of the road ahead and surrounding traffic, but it also forces the driver to take his or her eyes off the road.

2.    Reading or Surfing the Internet. Smartphones, tablets, and in-car Internet access have made browsing the Web as easy and accessible as turning on your car radio. While this is very convenient, it is causing drivers to be increasingly distracted as they attempt to multi-task driving and Web browsing.

3.    Operating an iPod or Streaming Music Functions. Whether connected wirelessly or with a USB cable, using an iPod or smartphone to feed music from your personal collection or an Internet radio station to your car's audio system is more dangerous than scanning through radio stations on AM, FM or satellite bands that are integrated with your car.

4.    Operating a Navigation System. Most navigation systems do not allow programming to occur while the car is in motion, endlessly frustrating passengers who simply want to input a destination without stopping. Some companies, however, do allow the driver to use their navigation system while the car is moving.

5.    Talking on the Phone. In some states, drivers cannot use a hand-held device to make or receive a phone call while the car is moving. That is because when you are engaged in a conversation, you are less likely to pay attention to the road.

6.    Applying Makeup. If someone offered to pay you $20 to drive to work tomorrow morning while looking in your vanity mirror and poking at your eyes with a sharp object, it is likely that you would turn the offer down. Yet thousands of motorists do this every day in exchange for an extra 15 minutes of sleep.

7.    Reaching for Dropped Items. Whether something you need has dropped onto the floor or between the seats, reaching to get your cell phone, a key card, paperwork, or a toy for your child is a major distraction to driving.

8.    Reprimanding Children. When your children are acting up, it is a natural reaction to look back to see what is going on. However, if you're looking at your kids, who is watching the road for you?

9.    Eating. Most people consume food and beverages while driving. The messier the food, the more care that is required to keep food scraps off of the car and the driver's clothing, and the more distracting it becomes.