Distracted drivers are one of the biggest dangers on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,142 people died because of them during 2019. Many more escaped with their lives but suffered severe injuries.
If you could spot a distracted driver, you could take steps to avoid them. Yet distracted driving is not restricted to any particular age group or social class. Everyone does it at some point, although some do it more than others.
Distracted drivers give themselves away by their actions
The best way to pick out distracted drivers is by watching how they drive. You can do that from a safe distance, rather than having to be alongside them to see inside their car. Here are some things to look out for:
- Drifting across the lane: Going in a straight line requires you to focus ahead. If someone is looking elsewhere or reaching to grab something from the back, they may inadvertently turn the wheel. They then turn it back once they realize, only to do it again a few seconds later.
- Jerky braking: Focusing on the road lets you see what is going on and slow down smoothly when needed. Distractions can cause people to miss that the lights are about to change or the car in front has slowed. By the time they notice, they need to brake hard to slow in time.
- Delaying pulling away: Have you ever sat behind someone and needed to toot your horn to let them know the lights have changed? If so, something was taking their attention at the lights. Just because the lights change does not mean they have finished what they were doing, so they may continue doing it while driving.
The better you become at spotting such behaviors, the more chance you can avoid a distracted driver injuring you in a collision.