Distracted driving serves as one of the biggest risks to driver safety out of any other potential risk factor. This is partially due to the fact that it is a large umbrella term that covers many different behaviors.
Because of that, you may end up driving while distracted without even knowing that you are. One of the best ways to help cut down on this is thus to better understand what factors into distracted driving.
Why is it heavily penalized?
The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety examines the dangers of distracted driving. Many actions fall into this category, including very well-known ones such as texting or using handheld devices while driving. The risk this provides is why you face such hefty penalties if convicted. For example, a first offense of talking or texting on a handheld device can net you a fine of up to $400. A third or subsequent offense can result in $800 fines, 90-day suspensions and 3 points on your driver’s license.
Forms of distracted driving
But there are other major sources of distraction, too. First, your passengers. Holding conversations with and otherwise engaging with passengers is a huge distraction that we normalize every day. Cognitive distractions like chatting can diminish your reflexes and make it harder for you to spot oncoming dangers, so keep your interactions brief.
Eating or drinking in the vehicle is another big issue, especially for morning commuters. Many people grab coffee or food to go while on their way to work, but this takes your hands, eyes and attention away from the road, too. Thus, you may want to adjust your morning schedule to allow for time to eat at home or while safely parked.
Making these small and simple changes can contribute to your safety while on the road and reduce your chances of crashing.