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Reasons behind distracted driving

Distracted driving is a problem across the nation, and California drivers are no exception. But just what causes distracted driving? How many reasons exist behind distracted driving, and how common are they?

Safe Start lists the top ten causes of distracted driving, and perhaps surprisingly, the leading cause is "general distraction". This includes thinking of other things while driving, or essentially letting the mind wander. A whopping 62 percent of distracted driving accidents are caused by this. The runner-up cause is using cellphones, which causes 12 percent of accidents. This can include making phone calls or, more popularly, texting or checking messages while driving.

Other causes include moving objects like pets in the car or animals outside of it, drinking and eating, other people in or outside of the car, or fiddling with things brought into the car. Adjusting the air conditioning or music can also contribute to accidents.

The Balance also lists driving factors behind distraction at the wheel, citing many of the same issues. Driving under the influence is also mentioned, as is using a GPS. Navigational systems are meant to make our travels easier, but they do unfortunately sometimes take one's attention away from the road while they're trying to recalibrate or see where they're going.

Ultimately, eliminating every distraction is impossible. However, plenty of the top reasons for distracted driving are within the driver's hands and can be combated. By eliminating certain distractions like cellphone usage and learning to keep an eye out for others, like surprise developments on the road, these issues can potentially be lowered or limited.

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