Avoid Distractions While Driving in California

California's Traffic Ticket Authority

You’ve likely heard the phrase “accidents happen” many times in your life, right?. At Ticket Snipers, one of our goals is to help keep you safe and avoid accidents, especially those that you’re in control of. To help you do that, here’s a list of some of the biggest driving distractions you should be aware of, to prevent you from being in an accident or ticketed.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that there are 3 types of driving distractions: visual, which forces you to take your eyes off the road; manual, where you take your hands off the wheel; and, cognitive, where your mind is no longer focusing on driving. We’ll cover some distracting actions many people take that fall under each of these categories.

Stay Off Your Cell Phone

According to the NHTSA, there were over 3000 people killed and over 431,000 injured nationwide in 2014 due to distracted driving. CBS Los Angeles reported that “a California Highway Patrol study found that at least 12.8 percent of California drivers use their cell phones while driving”. The number one source of distracted driving is due to cell phone use while driving. A ticket for this offense in California will cost you anywhere from $161 on up.

Think talking on your cell phone using a hands-free device is safer? Think again. While you may have freed up your hands to put them on the steering wheel instead of holding your phone, your focus during a phone conversation is on the conversation you’re having, not on driving. The NHTSA notes that while holding your phone and talking while driving might be slightly worse, using a hands-free device doesn’t mean you’re at less risk.

Consider Not Eating Or Drinking A Beverage While Driving

We’ve all been there. We get hungry or thirsty when we’re in our vehicles, especially for prolonged periods of time, and we just have to have that Starbucks coffee we bought earlier or that bag of chips to snack on. When you go to grab that drink or reach for a handful of chips, you’re taking your eyes and focus off the road. You might be one of those really “talented” drivers that takes your hands off the wheel and uses your knees to drive. None of these are a good idea and could wind up putting you, your passengers or other drivers on the road in the hospital.

Avoid Distractions On The Road - Like Accidents

When a police officer has someone pulled over or when an event on the side of the road is happening while you’re driving by, you often can’t help but look. “Rubbernecking” is another top rated distraction that can, and often does, have severe consequences. When you focus your attention on the event, you want to make sure you take in everything that’s happening, but it takes your eyes off the road and often leads to accidents.

Be Careful Not To Get Too Caught Up In Conversation

In-vehicle conversations are so easy to get caught up in and lose track of what’s going on around you. One minute you’re talking about how the kids are doing in sports or telling a story with your passenger and the next thing you know, you don’t even remember the color of the car you just passed because you were focused on your conversation. While it’s certainly OK to engage with people in your vehicle, make sure it’s only for brief periods of time and that you’re still focusing on the road and those around you.

We All Daydream - Just Try Not To Do It While Driving

Driving home from a long and stressful day at work or taking a long road trip are just a couple of instances where you might find yourself deep in thought, reflecting or daydreaming. While those are really great breaks for your mind to take, doing it while driving leaves less room for your brain to focus on your surroundings. Your reaction time may be slow if you need to react quickly - when your thoughts are elsewhere.

While this is just a short list of some of the more notable driving distractions, keep in mind that when you’re driving, there are many distractions that only take a split second to have an impact on your life, other’s lives, and potentially your wallet.