Talk on the phone while you're driving? Fix your makeup? Check e-mail?
You're not alone.
A survey released on Monday shows 81 percent of
Americans do more than drive when they're behind the wheel.
More than eight of 10 people surveyed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance
said they adjust the radio or music while they drive, while 73 percent
talk on the phone, 68 percent eat, 19 percent send text messages and 5
percent checked their e-mail.
Personal hygiene was also a big driver distraction, with 19 percent
fixing their hair, 12 percent putting on
makeup and 2 percent shaving while at the controls of a
"Clearly Americans have much to do and little time to do it, so to cope
with that we've become multi-taskers," said Bill Windsor, associate vice
president of Safety at Nationwide.
"The problem with that is driving requires focus, and multi-tasking
while driving puts you and your fellow drivers at risk."
Drivers in the survey also admitted to changing seats with passengers,
watching a movie, painting their toenails, nursing a baby and putting in
contact lenses while driving.
Younger drivers multi-task the most, the survey found, with 35 percent
of 18-to-27 year olds saying they always multi-task in the car, compared
to 21 percent of baby boomers.
Windsor said the consequences for young drivers are severe, with car
accidents being the number one cause of death for Americans aged 18 to 27.
"The bottom line is if it can be done in the kitchen, bathroom, office
or bedroom, it should not be done in the car," Windsor said.
While some U.S. jurisdictions require hands-free devices for cellphone
use in cars, most of the activities listed in the survey are not illegal
unless they are determined to be the cause of an accident.
The survey of 1,200 drivers between the ages of 18 and 60 found that
while 83 percent believe they are safe drivers, 38 percent admitted they
have driven a certain distance without any recollection of doing so.