Distractions Behind the Wheel

Driving distractions cause motorists to lose focus and make mistakes. This, in turn, makes a vehicle crash more likely. The Illinois Insurance Hotline, an industry-sponsored outreach, encourages motorists to be deliberate about minimizing distractions when behind the wheel.

Operating a motor vehicle is a skill that requires full concentration. Visual attention enables the driver to see the road, identify problems, and react appropriately. Manual attention enables the driver to operate the steering wheel, gas brakes, signals, etc. Cognitive attention enables the driver to make decisions to reach the destination safely.

The Illinois Insurance Hotline offers the following tips to help motorists focus on driving.

  • Cell phones: Talking - even hands-free, texting, and using other cell phone features while driving is risky. Turn off or silence your cell phone when you are behind the wheel. Use the cell phone only for emergency. Pull off the road to make or take a call or text if it cannot wait.
  • Passengers: Talking or attending to other people in the vehicle can be a dangerous distraction. Avoid emotional conversations while driving. Stop the car to tend to a child's needs if necessary. Ask passengers to help you concentrate on the task at hand.
  • Other distractions inside the car: These include activities like adjusting music or temperature controls, eating, drinking, personal grooming, reaching for objects, watching GPS map devices, singing or moving to music, and more. Take care of distracting activities before putting the car in gear, and made a conscious decision to remain focused.
  • Distractions outside the car: Road construction, scenery, billboards, accident sites, and more cause drivers to lose concentration. Be intentional about keeping your eyes on the roadway.