Between 2013 and 2018 there were 60,000 accidents due to distracted driving in Minnesota alone. That statistic accounts for a whopping one in five accidents. Distracted driving contributes to an average of 45 deaths a year, but even for those lucky to survive the accident, on average 204 more individuals suffer life changing injuries. It’s important to always stay focused behind the wheel, and we understand that can be a lot to try and manage. However, understanding what classifies as distracted driving will help you make better decisions the next time you decide to go for a drive. 

  • Smoking, moving objects, or adjusting your seat accounts for the smallest number of distracted driving accidents we see across America. These are little things, like reaching to adjust your rear view mirror or to grab the bag that’s tipping over in the back seat. These small alterations should be done before you begin your trip. By switching your attention even a little bit off the road, you’re more likely to cause an accident. 
  • If you are reaching for headphones, using an external GPS, or eating or drinking while behind the wheel, you are driving distracted. It doesn’t matter what you are eating, drinking, or doing but if it’s not focusing 100% on the road, it’s distracted driving. 
  • Passengers can be distracting too. Sometimes, there’s not a lot you can do about this. However, it is important to know that talking to the passengers in your car classifies as distracted driving. If you are chatting with your family make sure to focus more on the road than the conversation. 
  • On that same note, other people outside your vehicle can distract you and create the perfect situation for an accident. Rubbernecking is all fun and games until you end up with whiplash!
  • There’s no real surprise that one of the top distracted driving mistakes you can make is texting and driving. We all know it. Yet, here we are, still seeing people drive down the road texting. Minnesota is Hands Free, do your part!
  • The number one worst type of distracted driving is…daydreaming! It can seem like you get some of your best thoughts in while on your daily commute, but one thing we like to recommend is trying to be mindful while you’re driving. Practice being present in the moment, so there’s no way you can miss what’s happening right in front of you! 

Distracted driving is a problem that puts all of us at risk. Every time you get behind the wheel, you are risking your life and the lives of everyone around you. That’s simply from driving and being in a vehicle. If you add distractions, your risk goes up. We’ve all been distracted behind the wheel once or twice, or ended up at our destination only to think back and be utterly unsure of how we got there. If you take anything away from this, let it be that you spend those moments alone in your car focused and in your car, instead of with your head in the clouds!