Worst things you can do while driving:
Worst Things You Can Do While Driving, We’ve all seen bad habits on the road. And we’ve all heard the stupid reasons why some car accidents happen (“I looked down at my phone for two seconds.” “I was just reaching for my ___ that fell under the seat.”). The fact of the matter is people do a lot of terribly unsafe things while driving. Here are six of the worst things you can do while driving, the eradication of which would mean a much safer world for drivers everywhere.
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One surefire way to get into an accident is to overreact when a potentially dangerous situation arises. If you start hydroplaning or skidding on ice, jerking your wheel can mean an accident within seconds. Slamming on your brakes too hard can cause your car to start to tailspin. Turning your steering wheel too hard to avoid someone coming into your lane can make the pullback too strong. All of these reactions are almost just as dangerous as the situation you might be avoiding. The best thing you can do is calmly, but quickly, react to any of these situations. Keep a steady hand, and don’t make any sudden, jerky movements.
This also applies to not overreacting to other drivers with your own brutal road rage. Speeding and swerving in and out of cars because you’re upset about other people’s driving is a terrible thing to be doing while driving as well.
Using Your Phone or Tablet
This means using your phone or tablet in a myriad of ways. It can already be dangerous enough to talk on the phone while you’re driving, partially because one of your hands might not be free, but mostly because you are no longer focusing solely on the road, and being distracted means you could easily miss a warning sign and get into an accident. This is especially true if the conversation you’re having is in any way emotional, which can be extremely distracting.
Texting and reading on your phone or tablet is even worse, as not only is your attention pulled away from the road, but your eyes aren’t even trained on the road or cars around you anymore. Whatever message or conversation you feel like you need to have can most likely wait until you’re out of the vehicle in a safer, more stable place to communicate. And no playing games either.
It may seem harmless to munch down on a fast-food burger while you’re driving, but eating while driving may be more dangerous than you realize. Besides having one—or in some cases, both—hands off of the wheel, you are leaving yourself open to not being as readily able to make quick decisions and turns.
More so, however, eating can be a huge distraction. Imagine if a splat of ketchup lands on your work clothes—you look down at it, and in just that split second, you slam into the bumper of the suddenly stopped car in front of you. And if you think eating a hamburger is bad, just remember that there are drivers out there who even eat salads and bowls of soup with their elbows on the wheel.
Putting on Makeup
We’ve all seen women rushed off to one place or the other doing their lipstick or eye makeup in the front mirror of her car. Again, not only are your hands not on the wheel, but your eyes are likely not on the road (especially if you are dabbing them with makeup). Putting on makeup while driving is extremely dangerous and leaves you open to all sorts of split-second accidents. Wait until you get to the parking lot, or take a moment before driving off—wake up five minutes earlier if you have to.
Grabbing Something Out of Reach
Sure, your phone might have just dropped between the seats, but that doesn’t mean you should start trying to fish it out while you’re driving (technically, you shouldn’t have been using it while driving at all, so leave it there!). Grabbing for something out of reach takes your hand or hands off the wheel, takes your eyes off the road, and usually contorts your body in an unnatural position for proper driving, often one that moves your feet from their correct placement on or by the pedals. Even if you think you’re keeping your eyes on the road while doing it, don’t run the risk of not being positioned right for responding to a potentially dangerous situation.
Driving With Your Knees
This has, unfortunately, become commonplace for drivers, particularly those with long, monotonous commutes. People can think of any number of things to do with their hands while driving—talking on the phone, texting, rummaging through a purse or briefcase, smoking, drinking a coffee, eating—so they’ve taken to driving with their knees while they do it.
As good as you might think you are at knee-driving, there’s nothing steady or good about it. It leaves you vulnerable to split-second accidents that you simply can’t react to in the same way that you can with two hands or even one hand on the wheel. Always keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road to stay fully in control of the vehicle you’re driving.
There are many other horrendous habits that drivers have picked up over the years, but these are some of the most egregious offenders. Even if you can’t control other drivers’ behaviors on the road, you can control yourself, so be as safe a driver as you can be.