Posted December 28, 2012 by Michael J. Kora in Auto

Three dangerous driving distractions that may surprise you

By now, virtually everyone knows the dangers of texting or talking on a cellphone even though driving. But phones aren&rsquot the only distractions drivers should be conscious of. Specialists say that something that draws your focus away from the road can be a potential lead to of an accident. That contains actions and scenarios as innocuous as snacking behind the wheel or postponing a bathroom break.

Most adults who drive routinely admit to engaging in distracting behaviors although behind the wheel, according to a Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll. Eighty-six % consume or drink even though driving, 59 percent use a hand-held cellphone, 41 percent fiddle with their GPS device, 37 percent text and 14 percent apply makeup, according to the poll.

&ldquoDistracted driving can be deadly driving,&rdquo says Julie Lee, vice president and national director of AARP Driver Security. &ldquoResearchers are discovering that any sort of distraction is risky, not just the ones we normally believe of as unsafe, like texting or talking on the phone.&rdquo

In truth, a study led by Dr. Peter Snyder, vice president of study for Lifespan, a Rhode Island-based health program, identified that a robust urge to urinate can impair your functioning as efficiently as drinking alcohol or becoming sleep deprived. And the effects of hunger, thirst and tiredness on consideration spans and reflex instances have been nicely recognized for years.

Here are 3 other possibly distracting behaviors and scenarios that you may possibly not view as risky:

Consuming and/or drinking &ndash We all do it, especially when we&rsquore in a hurry to make an appointment, have skipped a meal or just can&rsquot make it by way of the rest of the drive without a cup of joe. But eating or drinking even though driving entails taking at least 1 hand &ndash and component of your consideration &ndash off the wheel. Contemplate the 2011 case of a lady in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y. Police mentioned she hit a guardrail and flipped her Subaru when she spilled hot coffee for the duration of her morning drive. Luckily, she sustained only minor injuries.

Unrestrained pets &ndash Several pet owners feel of their dogs as their children. But although they&rsquore diligent about buckling up the youngsters and grandkids, they don&rsquot often safe their dogs although in the automobile. Allowing your pet to ride unrestrained &ndash in your lap, beside you or in the backseat &ndash is unsafe for you and him. A survey by AAA and Kurgo Pet Items located that 65 % of respondents had participated in at least a single dog-connected distracting behavior although driving, such as petting (52 %) or enabling the dog to sit in their lap (17 percent). Restraining your pet can help minimize driver distractions, restrict the pet&rsquos motion in situation of a crash, and safeguard pets from potentially getting harmed by inflating airbags.

Rubbernecking &ndash Slowing down or pulling over to get a greater appear at an accident not only displays a lack of tact, it could also result in an additional accident. If your eyes are on the crash you&rsquore approaching &ndash or passing &ndash they&rsquore not on the road ahead of you. As recently as August 2012, police in Greenbelt, Md., cited rubbernecking as the probable result in of a double accident that shut down a key highway in the course of morning rush hour. A Maryland State Police spokesperson told the Greenbelt Patch that police see rubbernecking accidents &ldquoall the time.&rdquo

&ldquoAlthough drivers age 50 and older are significantly less likely to engage in distracting behaviors like texting or making use of a hand-held cellphone behind the wheel, they might face other challenges, such as organic modifications in vision, hearing and reaction instances,&rdquo says Lee.

Brushing up on driving skills can support older drivers manage health-related alterations that may possibly come with age. AARP&rsquos Driver Security course is particularly designed to assist men and women 50 and older refresh their driving skills. To locate a classroom course near you, visit www.aarp.org/drive or get in touch with 888-227-7669, or sign up for an on the internet course. Courses are offered in English or Spanish.

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Michael J. Kora