The most dangerous driving distractions
You might think that roads today would be safer than ever before: Cars are smarter, sturdier, and better able to avoid crashes. Unfortunately, drivers are not. Scientists calculated the risks and prevalence of various distracting driver behaviors and found that we just can’t put down our phones—and that this bad habit can really cost us.
“Next to impairment, distraction is the greatest detriment to driver safety,” co-author of a study, Mindy Buchanan-King, wrote in an email to Mental Floss. “Based on pre-crash video examined by analysts, more than 68 per cent of the 905 injurious and property-damage crashes analyzed in our study involved some type of observable distraction.”
Using the video footage, the researchers were also able to measure which distractions are the most dangerous. They found that driving while crying, sad or agitated can increase risk by 980 per cent.
But texting while driving is just as risky. “Distractions that take the driver’s eyes away from the roadway the longest,” Buchanan-King said. Experts also showed just how distracted we are. “Drivers are distracted more than 50 per cent of the time,” they note in the paper, “Resulting in risk that is two times higher than model driving.”