Distracted driving is a serious risk for everyone on the road. Some people insist on focusing on anything except for the road in front of them as they drive. Doing so creates real risk for everyone on the road.
Thankfully, there are some obvious warning signs to watch for. Once you can identify potentially distracted drivers, you can take the steps necessary to keep yourself and everyone else in your vehicle as safe as possible.
Check yourself for distractions before you drive
The best way to avoid distracted drivers is to choose not to be one! Passengers, events happening outside your vehicle and your smart phone can all be major sources of distraction. That, in turn, can lead to a mistake or an oversight that results in a collision or crash. Take a few steps to reduce your personal distraction risk behind the wheel.
Placing your mobile phone in the back seat or truck is a great start. Make sure that the people who ride with you in the vehicle respect your need to focus on the road. If someone is in the passenger seat, ask him or her to adjust the radio, temperature controls and GPS if you need help.
Watch for visible phones in the hands of drivers
Many times, you can see someone through the windshield, rear window or side window holding a phone with one hand while driving. Obviously, anyone who has their hands on a phone instead of on the wheel is at increased risk of distraction and a crash.
Even people holding their phone to make a call could take their eyes or mental focus off the road. Try to give these drivers a wide berth, even if it means slowing down or changing the route that you take to your destination.
Drivers with inclined heads or one hand on wheel are another concern
Some people, eager to avoid a ticket from Iowa law enforcement related to using a phone while driving, will set their phone in their lap as they travel while texting. These drivers are easiest to spot at night, when the screen of their phone is lit up in their lap. However, if you're paying close attention you can spot them during daytime hours as well.
Warning signs of a hidden phone in a driver's lap include a bent-over posture or a head turned down, instead of looking straight forward. You may also notice a driver who holds the wheel with one hand, while the other is out of sight. Try to give these vehicles space as you drive.
Remember that phones are not the only dangerous source of distraction
If you spot someone eating, drinking, smoking or perhaps yelling or laughing while driving, those could all be signs of distraction as well. Changing clothing, applying make-up and reaching for items in the vehicle are all risk factors for distraction. Keep your eyes on the road and the people in vehicles close to yours. Doing so can help you notice and avoid a dangerous driver.