13 Things You’re Doing in Your Car—But Shouldn’t
You’re probably guilty of at least one of these.
Putting your feet on the dashboard
Whether you’re in the passenger seat or driving your car, your feet should stay off the dashboard. In a 2017 NerdWallet report, three percent of American drivers admit to putting their feet on the dashboard or out the window while driving with cruise control. Although this is a relatively small percentage, there is no reason for keeping your feet up—even if you’re sitting shotgun. In 2015, a Georgia couple was in a car accident where the passenger had her feet on the dashboard. She broke both of her legs in several places and urges people not to make the same mistake.
Eating a full meal
Almost everyone is guilty of eating or drinking behind the wheel at one point or another. Richard Reina, product training director at the aftermarket auto retailer CARiD.com, says sipping on a cup of coffee or soda is generally fine; just make sure you’re able to grip the wheel and keep your eyes on the road. “However, the more involved a snack or meal gets, the more distracted you might become,” he says. It might be tempting to reach for a fallen French fry, but it’s also incredibly dangerous. Here are 10 more things you should never do to your car.
Music during road trips and long commutes aren’t a problem, but using headphones isn’t the best thing to do while driving in your car. “Headphones decrease your awareness even more by filtering out other noises more than just your car’s speakers,” he says. Although it’s safer to make calls with headphones rather than taking a hand off the wheel, Reina says to be extra cautious since outside sounds will be harder to hear.
Storing unnecessary items
Some people treat their cars like their home away from home, but it shouldn’t act as a storage unit. Reina says large items in your car could block your visibility, creating dangerous blind spots and limiting your view for backing up. If there’s an emergency or an accident, anything not bolted down could easily move around your car and injure someone if you brake rapidly, he says. Plus, storing items in plain sight can make you a target for theft. These are the 15 things you should never leave in your car.
Blasting music with the windows down
In addition to annoying other drivers, playing loud music with your windows down in your car serves as another distraction. Much like earphones, driving with loud music distracts drivers from hearing important noises going on around you, Reina says. Having the windows down isn’t dangerous on its own, but drivers who blast the AC or heat at the same time could be even more distracted.
Picking your nose
Digging for gold isn’t something people should do in or outside of a car. In addition to the obvious sanitary issues and the fact that seeing other people pick is distracting, picking your nose could also be dangerous. Research published in the European Respiratory Journal shows that picking your nose could easily spread a dangerous pneumonia-causing bacteria. Nose-picking could also lead to frequent nosebleeds, respiratory infections, and even septum issues.
Depending on the state, having sex in public—including a parked car—could result in anything from a fine to jail time, community service, or probation, according to Elite Daily. Even worse, some people have sex in their car while driving. According to a study published in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, 33 percent of men and nine percent of women in the study participated in some sort of sexual activity while driving, Women’s Health reports. Here are 11 more crazy things people have done in their cars.
Smoking health risks are generally well-known. If you do decide to smoke, however, there’s research showing you should especially avoid doing so in your car. After just half a cigarette burns in a car, the quality of the air can reach levels 10 times over what the United States Environmental Protection Agency considers hazardous. Plus, smoking in a closed environment like your car increases third-hand smoke exposure. When people sit in a car that someone smoked in, the nicotine and other pollutants covering the car release into the air and get on your skin and mouth, according to Psychology Today. These are the 30 things your car mechanic won’t tell you.
It’s not automatically illegal to change in your car. However, you could get in trouble for public nudity or indecent exposure depending on where you live, if anyone sees you, and the local and state laws. One law firm website explains that changing in public must usually be “vulgar, indecent, lewd, or lascivious” to qualify as indecent exposure. It’s better to be safe than sorry and change in an appropriate, private place instead, if possible.
Doing your makeup
Focusing on anything other than driving means you’re distracted and more prone to accidents. “Putting on make-up while driving, along with any other distracting activities, doubles the reaction time a driver needs to put their foot on the brake,” says Stephanie Schwartz, owner of Roadrunner Traffic School. Most people also adjust their mirrors to see themselves while they’re putting on their makeup, which means you’re not using your mirror to look at the cars around you. Even if you’re parked, keeping your makeup in your car could actually damage some of your products and make them vulnerable to mold growth, per the Zoe Report. Check out these 17 things you actually should keep in your car.