Things that we think are just as bad as being on your phone whilst driving
Everyone now knows that using your phone whilst driving is a huge no-no. Same goes for driving with alcohol in your system and now, even vaping at the wheel is banned. However, there are many more activities that are a bit more legally ambiguous that drivers think they can get away with just because they haven’t specifically been made illegal. Even though a police officer can penalise you for driving without due care and attention, there are still plenty of ignorant motorists out there that think if there’s no explicit law against painting your nails whilst driving, it must be okay to do. Well, surprisingly, it’s not.
Navigating your car’s menus
Basic functions such as adjusting the volume or skipping to the next song are distracting enough as it is, why do else do you think they moved those functions to the steering wheel? But we’re not talking about the basic functions, we’re talking about things such as adjusting the bass and treble settings, changing the time and date or trying to tune the radio to a new station. Ask yourself, just how safe do you think it is to navigate the depths of your car settings which you’ve only ever changed once or twice before? You may as well be on your phone.
Once you’re driving and on the road, forget about turning your car’s Bluetooth off, don’t bother trying to check on your tyre pressure and don’t begin to think that now’s the best time to configure your car’s display settings. Just stop navigating the menus and stick to simple functions!
Leaning over to reach something
Although almost all cars nowadays will have dual window controls for the driver, there are still plenty of drivers out there still suffering the hassle of having to lean over to operate the passenger window. Drivers of small cars that were made 10 years ago or later will know exactly what I’m talking about, but it’s not just window switches that cause this behaviour. Leaning over to reach for something in the glove box, twisting around to get something in the back of the car or reaching to get something you’ve dropped by your feet are all unsafe things to be doing when travelling at any speed that isn’t 0.
By doing so, you’re drastically altering your vision of your mirrors, hazards and the direction you are driving. You’re also distracting yourself by shifting your concentration completely away from driving, which is the only thing you should be focused on.
Changing sat nav settings
Whether you have a built-in sat nav or you own separate one, make sure you have it set before you begin driving. At the end of the day, your sat nav is a device with a screen, just like your phone. Now, why exactly do you think phones are so overtly illegal to use while driving? Probably because they have complex menus, require focus and concentration to use and cannot be used without taking your eyes off the road. These are all things that apply to using a sat nav whilst on the go.
Just because the law says that sat navs are fine to use as long as they’re on a mount of some sort, that doesn’t mean it’s at all safe to start playing with whilst being behind the wheel. Whether you’re entering a new destination or changing the narrator to that Australian voice you find funny, it’s not acceptable to do whilst driving and should be illegal!
Petting your dog
It’s illegal to drive with an animal in the car that is not suitably restrained but there’s no law stopping us from petting them. Most dogs are very well behaved in the car and I believe the dogs are not the problem, it’s the humans. We can’t help but reward our furry friends for being such good boys and girls and the moment we go to pet them, we’re no longer focused on driving. Making sure we stroke them under their chin, around their ears, on the top of their cute little heads, we may as well be trying to solve a Rubik’s cube with that hand. Have you ever tried rubbing your stomach in a circle whilst patting the top of your head? Driving and petting is a complicated task and the adorableness of your fluffy best friend may just be one of the most dangerous driving distractions around. You can pet your dog, just don’t them too much!
Although CDs may now be considered by many as obsolete, they are still used in the car every now and again. Whether it’s time to get the Xmas CD out or your car just simply doesn’t have an aux port, there’s no good excuse for fiddling with CDs whilst you’re driving. It’s dangerous.
First you’ve got to eject the CD that’s currently in, then you have to find the CD you want and take the disc out of its case, then put it in, then put the other one back in a case, then put the case back. By this time, the person you’ve just bumped into has already taken pictures, phoned their insurance company and seen the doctor for whiplash.
Although this is technically already illegal as it’s covered under “driving without due care and attention”, drivers still consider it up for debate and like to try their luck regardless of it being a punishable offence. Messing around with CDs can be illegal in some circumstances but do agree that it should be illegal in all circumstances, just as being on your phone is?
What do you think should be illegal whilst driving?