The Top Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving
Today it’s so easy to get distracted while driving, but it’s also very dangerous. In 2017, more than 3,000 people died as a result of drivers that were distracted. Some of the reasons people get distracted may surprise you. In fact, you may even find that you are guilty of some of these habits without even realizing it.
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So how can you prevent distracted driving? Read our top tips below.
Put Your Phone Away
Cellphones can be a major distraction. Even if you think you won’t answer a call or text, if the temptation is there, you might do it. Rather than letting temptation put you in a bind, hide your phone in your trunk or glovebox. Before you put it away, turn notifications off, or set your phone to halt notifications while you are driving (available on iPhones).
If you find that you have to make a call or answer a text while you are behind the wheel, wait until you can safely pull over. Once you are off the road and the car is in park, then you can make your call or text. Even hands-free conversations can distract your mind from the road. If someone is delivering bad news or even if you are just getting caught up in the latest gossip, it’s easy to ruin your reaction time and put you at risk of an accident.
Don’t Drive Tired
Driving tired can actually be just as bad as driving drunk. According to the Sleep Foundation, if you are awake for 18 hours and get behind the wheel of a car, you will drive similar to someone that had been drinking and has a blood alcohol level of 0.05.
Whether you fall asleep behind the wheel, nod off, or just experience a delayed reaction time, you put yourself and everyone else on the road in danger. Drowsy driving can occur if you’ve been up for longer than you are used to, if you didn’t get a good night’s sleep, or if you are on medication.
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Keep it Quiet
Loud cars can be a distraction. Whether you have multiple rowdy passengers or you have kids that distract you, loud noises can cause you to take your eyes off the road. Loud music can even cause you to take your eyes off the road. A study conducted by Newfoundland’s Memorial University found that a person’s reaction time slows down as much as 20% when there is loud music in the car.
Limit your passengers, especially if you are a new driver (it’s the law in some states), or make a rule that everyone keeps the noise to a minimum while you drive. If you have kids in the car that become inconsolable or scream, pull the car over and take care of the situation safely. This way you can put your focus back on the road and avoid a potential accident.
Life is busy – we get it. But that doesn’t mean you should multi-task when you are behind the wheel of a car. If you haven’t finished grooming or eating, take care of these things before you drive. Many people assume it’s fine to eat a quick sandwich while hopping in the car, but it takes your eyes off the road. All it takes is to drop your sandwich or to drip on yourself. You may take your focus off the road for a second or two, and that’s all it takes to cause an accident.
Don’t Reach for Things
We know how tempting it is to reach for something, especially when you have a whiny kid in the backseat, but don’t do it. Moving your body takes you out of the proper driving position. It also puts you at risk of losing your focus on the road. If you drop something or a passenger really needs something that he or she can’t get, pull over and put the car in park before reaching.
Distracted driving is scary. It puts you at risk of a serious accident that could be prevented. Take care of all of your business before you get in the car. Hide any potential distractions, such as cellphones and set volume limits on your radio. Keep your complete focus on the road and deal with any necessary details that come up while driving once you are safely parked.
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