Distracted driving is a serious problem. According to Distraction.gov, 3,154 people were killed and 424,000 injured in automobile accidents caused by distracted drivers in 2013. There’s no question that it’s important to focus entirely on the road. Driving without distraction may be difficult if you’re not accustomed to it, but it’s definitely possible with the following tips.
Figure out your destination before you set off. Study your map or GPS so that you won’t have to look at them while driving. If you forget your course, pull over to recheck.
Eat before you leave. If your hands are occupied in unwrapping food and handling it, that’s less control you’ll have over the vehicle. When ordering from a restaurant, avoid drive-thrus unless you’re planning on pulling over to eat it.
Take care of personal hygiene outside of the car. Applying makeup, shaving, brushing hair or teeth, or otherwise studying your appearance should not be handled while operating a vehicle. Keep your dashboard mirror closed so you’re not tempted to check your teeth, hair, or makeup.
Get enough sleep. If you’re exhausted, not only will you have trouble staying awake, but you’ll have trouble concentrating and thinking. Also, your reactions will be delayed. If you find yourself unable to drive safely due to weariness, pull over and take a rest.
If you have children, see that they have everything they need before you start the vehicle. Supply them with books, toys, food, or anything else that will occupy them and keep them from distracting you. If you are easily flustered by children’s prattle, squeals, or sobs, then pull over and deal with the situation rather than enduring it.
The same applies to any passengers in your vehicle. If conversation distracts you, ask your companions to quiet down. Even if you don’t think you’re distracted by conversation, it could affect you without your knowing it. Your mind may be dwelling on the words spoken rather than on the road.
If you travel with pets, make sure they are constrained. Loose pets can climb all over you or cause a ruckus, thus interrupting your focus.
Don’t blast the radio. Constant loud noises can distract the mind, whether or not you’re aware of it. Also, the radio may block out important road sounds, such as sirens.
Turn off your cell phone. Nobody can over-stress the importance of this. Use of a cell phone while driving–whether calling, texting, or emailing–has caused countless motor accidents, many resulting in death or irreversible injury.
Encourage yourself to drive well. Some insurance agencies, such as Mercury, offer discounts for being a responsible driver; on the other hand, being a distracted driver can get you mixed up with an auto accident attorney, such as Frickey Law Firm in Denver, CO.
Lastly, if you’re overwhelmed by unavoidable distractions, simply pull over. One of the greatest distractions in the world is stress.
Being a responsible, focused driver is a challenge, but it preserves your life, your driving record, and the lives of others. That makes it entirely worth the effort. Drive safely!