Crash Test: 5 Things People Do While Driving

Last Updated May 2, 2011 3:29 PM EDT

It's no wonder that there are so many auto accidents.

Catapulting down the highway in 4,000 pounds of steel isn't enough of an activity for the typical U.S. driver, who needs to be doing more than merely watching the traffic and listening to the radio, or so says a new survey by Insurance.com.

According to he survey of some 1,500 individuals, just 42% of Americans drive without dangerous distractions. Watch out for the remaining 58%, who confessed to doing one -- or several -- other activities from reading (not kidding) to texting their friends.

Sure we all know about cell phones. Who hasn't been nearly sideswiped by a matron caught up in a juicy tidbit of telephone gossip, while changing lanes in her suburban? But, you might be surprised to know that talking on the cellphone is merely the second most-common driving distraction.

What's first? Noshing. A full 39% of those surveyed say that they eat and drink while driving. (Of course it's possible that they're talking on the cell phone at the same time.) The survey allowed for multiple "yes" choices, and given the numbers, they got them.

So exactly what are people doing while driving? According to Insurance.com's survey:
  • 39.13% are eating and/or drinking
  • 30.1% are chatting it up on a cell phone
  • 8.6% are texting
  • 2.95% are either shaving or putting on make-up
  • 2.33% are reading
  • 2.09% say they're doing something else, but they're not going to tell us what it is.
For those who missed the great Car & Driver road test of texting & driving vs. driving drunk, texting is worse. By a long shot.

More on MoneyWatch
10 Cities With the Most Drunk Drivers
Cost of Traffic: Cities Where You Pay Most Dearly to Drive
4 Ways Crooks Stage Accidents to Crash Your Car
Best & Worst States to Make a Living

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