Car accidents happen for many reasons, but one of the most common is distracted driving. Distracted driving comes in a variety of forms including texting and driving, driving with distracting passengers, eating behind the wheel, talking on the phone while driving and others.

Each kind of distraction has its own issues. For example, texting and driving takes your mind and eyes off the road as well as your hands off the wheel. Talking on the phone takes you mind off the road and could take your hands off the wheel.

Eating, comparatively, takes at least one hand off the wheel, even if you’re thinking about or looking at the road. Each of these actions makes it less likely that you’ll be able to respond in time to avoid a crash or be aware enough to notice that you’re making a mistake when driving.

How can you avoid distractions behind the wheel?

The first thing you can do is park if you plan to eat or drink behind the wheel. Most people who grab a bite to eat on the road do so by passing through a drive through. It’s simple to pull over for a few seconds and enjoy your meal without putting others at risk of injury.

Another good idea is to pull over if you have to take a call. Fiddling around while trying to answer or trying to find your phone on the road puts you at danger. Even if you have to hold the phone up, you’re taking a hand off the wheel and putting yourself and others in danger.

If you absolutely must take calls on the road, opt for a hands-free device. This keeps your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, so you can stay more focused.

Texting, regardless of the reason, takes your eyes off the road and encourages you to think about something else. Your hands may leave the wheel, and it’s likely for you to look away for a period of time long enough to cause a crash.

Distractions come in many other forms besides those above, so it’s important to do what you can to limit your time looking away from the road or taking your hands off the wheel. Even a few seconds of distractions getting in the way are enough to land you in serious trouble and to cause a crash.