Distracted driving is a leading cause of motor vehicle accidents. This type of driving is especially dangerous in the winter when road conditions require extra vigilance and precautions.
What qualifies as distracted driving, and how does winter weather make things worse?
Distracted driving behaviors
Distracted driving is exactly what it sounds like, driving while distracted. The following are common sources of distraction:
- Texting or talking on a cell phone
- Eating or drinking
- Grooming or applying makeup
- Interacting with passengers or pets
- Daydreaming or getting lost in thought
- Adjusting the radio or temperature controls
Any activity that takes even some of your attention from the road is dangerous. When you are drowsy, you also become easily distracted and your reaction times slow down.
Winter road conditions
Ice and snow create slippery conditions that can make driving dangerous. Motorists should lower their speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles. This is difficult to do for distracted drivers.
Aside from the conditions outside, there are special circumstances that occur on and inside the vehicle in the winter, as well. Icy glass and foggy windows limit your vision and make navigating difficult. Large, bulky coats inhibit easy movement for steering and checking blind spots. Cold hands get taken off of the steering wheel to warm up.
There are easy ways to ensure you are not driving while distracted. You should always clear all snow and ice from your vehicle. If possible, warm your car before you start driving. Remove distractions so you can fully focus on the winter roads.