The Shocking Behavior People Admit to Behind the Wheel

It goes beyond just texting.

phone-while-driving
Photo by Blend Images - Sollina Images/Getty Images

If you thought texting while driving was a driver's most dangerous habit, wait until you hear this: Nearly one in five British drivers ages 25-35 admit to taking a selfie in the car, according to a study by The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in Britain (an agency likened to that of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration here in the U.S.). 

Data from the study, which surveyed 500 drivers about their smartphone and tablet use while driving, shows that you may have reason to worry the drivers you're sharing the road with are distracted by more than glamor shots: Approximately 18 percent of drivers have accessed the Internet while driving and 8 percent admit to using video-calling applications. 

British drivers aren't the only ones making dangerous moves behind the wheel: In a recent study by AT&T as part of their It Can Wait campaign, which encourages safer driving habits, 7 in 10 people admitted to using their cell phone while driving—and not just to access the maps application. Nearly 4 in 10 browse social media platforms, almost 3 in 10 surf the web, and 1 in 10 engage in video chats.

Perhaps even more alarming is that the findings both stateside and across the pond come despite plentiful research detailing the dangers of using both handheld and hands-free devices while driving. In a 2013 study, researchers found that the use of handheld phones and other portable devices increased the risk of getting into a crash by three times. Hands-free devices were also considered to increase the likelihood of a crash, because users still have to locate, look at, and touch the phone. 

"Everyone knows how dangerous using a smartphone or tablet is while driving. That's why it's shocking to see new trends like taking selfies and making video calls becoming common practice," IAM's chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars, said in a statement. "Safe driving is everyone's responsibility and more must be done to catch drivers using these devices dangerously... there is simply no excuse"