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Beyond texting: what causes distracted driving?

Most drivers understand the dangers of texting while driving and the serious accidents it has caused, but did you know that many other factors contribute to distracted driving? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nearly 3,000 people died in 2018 as a result of distracted driving, including drivers as well as passengers and pedestrians.

Learning about other factors that cause this risky behavior may help you understand the possible consequences and whether you might practice any of these bad habits behind the wheel.

Eating and drinking

You may eat or drink in your car as you commute to work or make your way back to the office after a quick lunch out, and as innocent as it may seem, it could also cause a serious accident. Putting away change or your debit card, checking through a takeout bag or spilling a drink can all take your eyes off the road, and even a brief distraction can result in a wreck. Avoid eating once you put the car in gear and put your wallet away before you leave the drive-thru line.

Conversation with passengers

Not all conversations that cause car accidents take place over a cell phone or by text. Sometimes, speaking with someone riding with you can cause distractions, from your spouse to your children or a friend. The risk may escalate if you argue with a passenger while driving, especially while moving through heavy traffic. Try to keep any conversation at a minimum while you are behind the wheel.

It takes only moments for a serious car accident to occur. Focusing on the road ahead and the drivers around you can keep you, them and your passengers safe.