Have you ever had a romantic adventure while driving? Changed your clothes or flossed your teeth behind the wheel? If you said yes, you’re not alone. If you said no, you may be surprised how many people say they have.
April has been designated distracted-driving awareness month in an attempt to draw attention to the growing danger caused by people who don’t pay attention to the road. The spate of reports, studies and surveys engendered by the special month have begun to emerge, among them one from the AAA Foundation last week that said 58 percent of teenagers involved in crashes were distracted by something.
Another report — this one a survey by the Erie Insurance company — found people admit to texting and talking on cellphones at now familiar rates while driving. And it found that the same people also confessed to much more.
Fifteen percent said they had engaged in a “romantic encounter” while driving; 43 percent said they sing or dance; 30 percent said they apply makeup; 15 percent said they read; 9 percent said they changed clothes; 4 percent said they flossed or brushed their teeth; and the same percentage said they take selfies.
The survey was of the online variety, deemed less reliable than random-sample calling, but revealing nonetheless.
“A distraction is anything that causes a driver to take their eyes off the road, their hands off the wheel or their mind off their primary task of driving safely,” said Doug Smith, a vice president at Erie Insurance. “Our survey found drivers, unfortunately, are engaging in a wide range of distracting and potentially dangerous behaviors.”
The survey did raise questions. For example, what constitutes a “romantic encounter”? Does changing clothes mean removing a jacket or taking off one’s pants?
“We did not define ‘romantic encounters’ or ‘going to the bathroom,’ so there could be some room for interpretation on those,” said Erie spokeswoman Cristy Carlson.
Yes, going to the bathroom; 3 percent of the drivers surveyed said they’d done that behind the wheel.