10 Most Dangerous Distracted Driving Habits

Looking at your phone while driving is very distracting. Martin Novak/Getty Images

It's probably safe to reason the 18-year-old man didn't leave the house with intentions to kill someone that day. As he went about his business, he casually held his car's steering wheel in one hand and a cell phone in the other. He certainly hadn't planned on running that red light. That was when a semi-tractor trailer swerved to avoid clobbering his car. Instead of hitting the negligent driver, the rig plowed directly into the vehicle carrying Jacy Good and her parents, Jean and Jay Good. The trio was returning from Jacy's 2008 graduation from Muhlenberg College near Allentown, Pa.

Jacy's parents were killed instantly. She was critically injured and endured agonizing rehabilitation sessions to regain her speech and her ability to do just the simplest of tasks. The Goods' story is just one of thousands each year of the pain inflicted by distracted driving.

It's no wonder that "distracted driving" has been called "the new drunk driving" [source: The Economist].

Distractions inside our vehicles abound. For many professionals, their car, truck or SUV is truly their office on wheels. For younger drivers, the car continues to serve as a social hub as it has for decades. But now vehicles are not just a mobile party; they've also become a spot to place calls and send texts -- all too often with deadly consequences.

Every day, distracted driving kills more than 15 people and injures more than 1,200 [source: Centers for Disease Control].

The purpose of this article isn't to scold busy drivers or hasten the dawn of a vehicular nanny state. Instead, it simply lays out some of the most dangerous habits that distract drivers -- habits that you might not even guess to be all that risky. As the saying goes, forewarned is forearmed.

So start arming yourself for safer driving by reading the No. 10 habit on our list of Most Dangerous Distracted Driving Habits, on the next page.