Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle collisions. 9 people die every day in the United States due to distracted driving and countless more are injured, potentially suffering life-altering problems including broken bones and traumatic brain injuries.
When we add on the possible legal implications of causing accidents due to being distracted, along with the mental anguish and issues that can arise in the wake of this kind of collision, it’s clear to see that distracted driving is best avoided by all.
Unfortunately, in the modern world of smartphones and high-tech in-car entertainment systems, it feels like there are more distractions than ever before, and many people can sometimes find themselves struggling to keep their eyes on the road.
If you want to avoid being one of the thousands of people injured and killed by distracted driving each year, as well as setting a good example to your children and other road users too, here are some useful tips to bear in mind.
Put The Phone Down
A recent survey from the NHTSA showed that around 2 in every 10 drivers admit to using their phone for sending messages while driving, and the rate of phone usage is especially prevalent in younger drivers, with around half of 21 to 24 year olds admitting to it.
We’re used to using our phones these days for almost everything, but they can be seriously dangerous distractions while driving. If you need to use your phone to make a call or send a message, find a spot to pull over beforehand.
Avoid Eating or Drinking
Even something simple like eating or drinking while driving can distract you sufficiently to possibly lead to an accident. Trying to eat or drink while you drive will mean you need to take at least one hand off the wheel, after all.
If you find yourself feeling hungry or thirsty on a long trip, find a safe place to stop and then have your snacks and drinks safely and comfortably, rather than trying to open cans or eat sandwiches while controlling the vehicle.
Make Use of Apps
Using your phone while driving isn’t recommended, but there are apps you can set up at the start of a journey, before you hit the road, to actually help you stay safer while you drive and reduce the risk of any distractions.
There are dozens of different safe driving apps to choose from. Some will actually track your driving performance and let you know if you’re braking too firmly or accelerating too fast, while others will offer GPS advice and help you get to your destinations more quickly and conveniently.
One thing that can quickly distract drivers is the sound of boxes or items rolling around in the backs of their cars or in the trunk. It might not seem like such a significant issue, but these sounds and movements around your car could take your attention off the road.
When packing up your car ahead of a big trip, make sure everything is placed properly, so as to avoid any noises or other issues. Check that the floor is clean and clear of any litter too, as little items might roll around under your seat or even get stuck around the pedals.
Don’t Talk Too Much
There’s nothing wrong with chatting to your passengers, and many people actually say that having a buddy by their side helps to prevent them from getting bored while driving, keeping their focus and concentration levels high.
However, you should avoid talking too much if you feel that your focus is slipping away from the road. If you find yourself in a difficult driving situation, navigating a busy intersection, for example, then put the conversation on hold for a moment until you feel more comfortable.
Be Careful With Medication
Did you know that many common, over the counter pills, tablets, and medicines could impair your driving performance? From cold remedies to pain killers and allergy pills, there are various medications that list drowsiness and lack of focus as possible side effects.
It’s still legal to take many of these medications and drive, but you need to be aware of the possible risks. Know your body and try medications at home to see what effects they have on you before getting behind the wheel.
Distracted driving causes countless deaths and injures, and it’s so easy to let your focus slip. Even just a few seconds of inattention can be disastrous, so never underestimate the importance of keeping your eyes on the road, and be sure to bear these useful tips in mind the next time you get behind the wheel.