Watch out for These Warning Signs of a Distracted Driver

There are certain factors that make the roads less safe for anyone on them. Drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are one such issue. Another is drivers who get behind the wheel when exhausted or fatigued. Finally, distraction plays a major part in a large number of otherwise preventable crashes.

People die every day in collisions caused by distracted drivers, and hundreds more sustain serious injuries. Even with laws in place that make reading and typing texts while driving illegal in Florida, many drivers still choose to engage in these distracting behaviors. Thankfully, there are warning signs for common distractions you can watch for while on the road.

Holding a cell phone or noticing its glow at night

Obviously, one of the biggest signs that someone in a car near you is texting or on social media is the tell-tale presence of a phone in his or her hands. At night, you may also notice the light coming from the phone, illuminating the face of the driver. A person who appears to look at his or her lap instead of in front of the vehicle is another warning sign.

Talking on the phone or dialing it can prove as dangerous as texting for some drivers. If you notice someone focused on a phone instead of the road, do your best to get away from that vehicle. You may want to exit the highway or turn off onto another street. Doing so reduces your risk of a crash.

Watch for signs of an argument, such as angry expressions or gestures

Discussions with someone else on the phone or another person in the vehicle can quickly turn heated, creating a risky situation for everyone nearby. If you notice a driver who is clearly more focused on talking with someone in the vehicle instead of safety, take steps to avoid proximity to the vehicle.

Not only are people experiencing elevated emotions more likely to make rash decisions, e.g., suddenly stopping or turning without notice, they can also forget to focus on safety, which should always be the first priority while driving a vehicle.

Look out for signs of eating a meal in the car

If you see someone with a burger or taco in hand, that person is dividing his or her attention between eating and operating the vehicle. Sometimes, removing a wrapper requires two hands. Dropping or spilling part of the meal could result in further distraction when the driver attempts to clean it off a shirt or retrieve food from the floor.

Even drinking from a cup can prove distracting to some people. If you notice someone eating a meal behind the wheel, avoid that vehicle.

Anyone playing with controls is dangerous too

While it may seem silly, adjusting mirrors, changing the radio or even moving the seat diverts the focus of a driver. Similarly, lighting or putting out a cigarette could result in distraction as well. Anyone who doesn't have both hands on the wheel may not be able to respond quickly to sudden stimuli. Be careful!