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The 8 weirdest driver distractions

By Crissinda Ponder ·
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Posted: 6 am ET


Is it really worth the risk to snap that selfie during your morning commute? Apparently, some drivers think so. We're willing to bet that's a secret they want kept from their car insurance company.

Taking selfies is just one of several extreme distracted-driving behaviors that people were willing to admit to in a new online survey of nearly 2,000 adult drivers conducted by Erie Insurance.

Just in time for April -- aka National Distracted Driving Awareness Month -- here's a look at eight odd and dangerous driver distractions, with the percentages of motorists who were brave enough to own up to their behavior.

Who takes distracted driving to extremes?

  1. Public displays of affection: 15 percent
  2. Styling hair: 15 percent
  3. Changing clothes: 9 percent
  4. Applying makeup: 8 percent
  5. Brushing and/or flossing teeth: 4 percent
  6. Taking selfies: 4 percent
  7. Switching drivers: 3 percent
  8. Using the bathroom: 3 percent

Source: Erie Insurance

The survey also found that some people curl their eyelashes, put in contact lenses and scratch off lotto tickets while behind the wheel.

No laughing matter

The findings underscore the potential danger that distracted drivers face, Doug Smith, senior vice president of personal lines for Erie Insurance, says in a statement.

"We hope our survey will get people talking about the importance of eliminating distracted driving and keeping their focus on the road," he says.

Regardless of how bizarre -- and risky -- the above behaviors may seem, texting while driving is "the most alarming distraction," says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.

Too much texting

Thirty percent of motorists report they have sent texts while driving, Erie's survey found. Southern-based drivers text the most; those in the Northeast text the least.

More than 420,000 people were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving in 2012, according to NHTSA, and another 3,328 were killed.

Additionally, millennials have a bad driving rap: 20-something drivers comprise nearly 30 percent of fatal distracted-driving collisions.

Here's a look at how six driver distractions rank on the danger scale.

Follow me on Twitter @CrissiPonder.

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April 01, 2015 at 5:25 pm

I saw a women breast feeding her child in a reverse facing car seat in the middle of the front seat while driving!!

Linda B
April 01, 2015 at 4:00 pm

I've seen a young female driving with a laptop on the steering wheel, a guy eating a bowl of salad with a fork, and lots of people with a cell phone in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

April 01, 2015 at 3:45 pm

I know someone who saw someone eating a bowl of cereal while driving.

April 01, 2015 at 3:27 pm

true stories: have seen ppl READING and saw one guy playing his guitar! (fortunately traffic was creeping along at a walking pace at the time)

April 01, 2015 at 2:46 pm

I wonder if they are taking a dump while driving

April 01, 2015 at 2:37 pm

Going to the the car...seriously. Agree with both Mermaid & Rita. Totally disturbing & disgusting. No brains.

carol james
April 01, 2015 at 2:11 pm

yes, cell phones are a big reason for people not paying attention. So many drivers are to aggressive, do not have consideration for others on the road that's when accidents happen!!!

April 01, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I agree with Mermaid, who the heck is going to the bathroom while driving. That's disturbing on so many level, not to mention disgusting! Maybe if more people taught their kids to drive stick they wouldn't have enough hands to do all these dangerous things.......cause they'd be using both hands to drive like the majority of us!

April 01, 2015 at 1:46 pm

Going to the bathroom ????? while driving ?????

Steve S.
April 01, 2015 at 12:35 pm

When I'm radio, cell phone off and out of reach, and concentration. Not hard to do, but so many self-centered idiots insist on making the road a dangerous place for all of us.