Most drivers in Iowa agree that certain activities are dangerous distractions while behind the wheel. Participating in a text message conversation, for example, or composing an email while attempting to drive can lead to catastrophic vehicle collisions. Certain distractions, however, are so commonplace that drivers often look past any obvious danger.
There are numerous distractions that might seem innocuous but can lead to deadly collisions, including:
- Eating: Drive-thru restaurants on nearly every busy corner and each popular exit only encourages drivers to grab a quick snack on the way to class or dinner on the way home from work. Some drivers will even bring a snack from home to pass the time during a long commute. Unfortunately, these time-saving conveniences require a driver to take his or her hand from the steering wheel and, often, the eyes from the road causing eating while driving to be both a manual and visual distraction.
- Drinking: Even more common than eating in the car, is drinking in the car. Whether it is a travel mug of coffee in the morning, a can of soda on the way home or a bottle of water to sip while running household errands, these activities are distractions. Worse, yet, is when the driver spills some liquid and he or she will invariably scramble to immediately clean it up.
- Children in the car: Whether it is running errands or shuttling them back and forth to various engagements, parents often have their children in the car with them. Unfortunately, these children can represent a serious distraction. They could talk, ask questions, get into trouble or demand snacks on a long ride. All these actions can distract the driver away from the primary task at hand.
- In-person conversations: While much is made about the dangers of cell phone use, a direct person-to-person conversation can be just as distracting. Drivers might turn their heads to look at the passenger or take their hands off the wheel to point out a roadside attraction or playfully punch their friend in the shoulder.
Any activity that pulls a driver’s attention from the road, eyes from their surroundings or hands from the steering wheel are distractions. Some activities are more distracting than others, but all distractions can lead to a serious motor vehicle collision. These types of collisions can result in catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain damage, spinal cord damage, paralysis, amputation or crush injuries. No matter the severity of the collision, it is wise to seek a detailed medical examination.