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Three Most Common Causes of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has escalated to one of the most pressing issues on the road. A quick glance away from the road may seem harmless enough, but that split second distraction is cited as a contributing factor as one of the leading causes of car accidents and resulting deaths and injuries. There are legal ramifications if a distracted driver is involved in an accident and causes injury to others, so it is important to recognize and avoid distractions.

While there are a number of distractions that contribute to this issue, a few standout as being more prominent than others are. A survey performed by Erie Insurance in 2018 attempted to identify these common distractions in order to gain a better understanding of how to prevent this issue. The following causes of distracted driving were most prevalent in the results of the survey.


The survey results revealed that the most common cause of distracted driving is daydreaming. This refers to drivers who are thinking about something else, which shifts their focus from the road. It could be as simple as wondering if you remembered to lock the door to your home or as complex as analyzing an argument you had with your significant other. Of the people surveyed, 61% revealed that daydreaming or becoming lost in thought was the greatest distraction while driving.

Cell phone usage

It should come as no surprise that cell phone usage came up in the results of this survey. Texting and driving has quickly become a common reason for distracted driving, but there are a variety of ways your cell phone can be a distraction. Cell phones have become miniature computers allowing us the ability to talk, text, review social media or use an app while driving. This is why many states have passed laws prohibiting use of a cell phone while driving unless it is in a "hands-free" mode. The survey results reveal that cell phone usage is the second-most common distraction at 14% and you can help make the road a much safer place by putting your phone down or, at the very least, pull over when you need to make a call or send a text.

Outside distractions

Have you ever looked out the window and noticed something interesting outside? Maybe you saw an animal running back into the woods or a fascinating billboard on the side of the highway that captured your attention. These scenarios exemplify the third-most common cause of distracted driving.

Taking your eyes off the road to look at something outside your vehicle frequently leads to automobile accidents.. The best way to avoid this issue is to simply be aware of your surroundings and make sure that your focus is always on what is in front of you. Don't let evidence of your distracted driving be used against you to explain why others were injured in a collision. 

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