Cellphone use is usually top of mind when you hear the phrase “distracted driving,” but a new survey from Erie Insurance found that drivers are engaging in a wide range of potentially dangerous behaviors when behind the wheel—everything from public displays of affection to personal grooming and even going to the bathroom.
“A distraction is anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel, or their mind off their primary task of driving safely,” said Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines at Erie Insurance.
According to U.S. government statistics, in 2012, more than 420,000 people were injured in car crashes involving distracted driving and more than 3,300 people were killed.
Although texting while driving remains a serious problem, with 30 percent of those surveyed admitting they have done it and three-quarters saying they’ve seen others do it, drivers in the survey admitted to a variety of distracted behaviors, including:
- Romantic encounters/public displays of affection, 15 percent
- Combing/styling hair, 15 percent
- Reading, 15 percent
- Changing clothes, 9 percent
- Putting on makeup, 8 percent
- Brushing/flossing teeth, 4 percent
- Taking selfies, 4 percent
- Changing drivers, 3 percent
- Going to the bathroom, 3 percent
Other reported distractions included putting in contact lenses or eye drops, curling eyelashes, scratching off lottery tickets, and even playing the guitar while driving.
The online survey of 1,915 U.S. drivers aged 18 and older was conducted in February by Harris Poll on behalf of Erie Insurance.