A huge percentage of car accidents are caused by distracted driving, that is, driving when your attention is focused on something other than the road. From talking to passengers to looking at their phones or reading a book, people often need some pep talks to avoid distractions on their commutes. Here are some tips to reduce your chances of becoming a statistic.
1. Stow your phone:
There is no doubt that a smartphone is a wonderful invention, but there are also proven statistics that show that smartphones cause an average of 603 distracted driving accidents per month in the U.S. In addition to being very distracting, phones can also cause problems if you have a hard time reining in the attention you give them. Some phones even have voice command features that require you to speak out loud to use them. This is also very distracting for the driver.
2. Vow not to multitask:
Human brains are not designed for multitasking. Oftentimes, we multitask on purpose and think it makes us more efficient, but in reality, it is a huge distraction as it causes a split-second of time that you can’t help but think about all the things that have to be done. Multitasking even prompts a driver to speed up and leave their safety first behind.
3. Don’t be a distraction:
Some distractions are so blatant that they can be used as a way to taunt drivers. For example, cellphone users who talk loudly on their phones and then throw their hands up in the air for a “peace sign” pose. This is not only extremely annoying but also very distracting as it pulls your eyes from the road. Furthermore, when driving with passengers, seatbelt-lovers will often take hold of your arm, causing you to break your focus on the road.
4. Talk to your employer:
You might think that nothing can be done about the other drivers in your company, but you should know that most of them are very aware of distracted driving and have a personal rule against it. In fact, many employers have mandated a no-phone policy in the office. It is also beneficial to talk to your boss about the distractions of your co-workers and explain why they should reconsider their behavior. People tend to pay more respect once they understand why something is happening.
5. Keep kids and pets safe:
While you might feel safe driving with your child in the car, statistics show that almost 600 people die in car accidents every year, and many of these deaths can be prevented. If you have a small child, there are some things that you can do to prevent injuries. First and foremost, always buckle them up. Second, keep them in the backseat until they are at least 8 years old or bigger. Third, make sure they aren’t squirming in the car seat. Last but not least, never allow distractions such as a moving child or pet in the car whenever you drive.
6. Plan your route before you go:
One of the reasons drivers get distracted is because they don’t know where they are going. They have not taken the time to plan out their route beforehand. Even when you are running simple errands, it is important to get directions beforehand, so you know exactly what to do and when to do it. In fact, this habit is important for any type of road trip as well, especially if you have never gone on that road before.
7. Speak up:
There are many ways to keep yourself from becoming distracted. One of the best is to speak up and remind other drivers that they are becoming a distraction. Whether you are sitting in traffic or on the road, you can get behind the wheel and remind others to be cautious about their actions so you can focus on the road ahead.
8. Set rules of the road:
Whenever you are driving with your friends or family, it is important to set up rules ahead of time. In addition to making sure that everyone has their seatbelt on, it is also a good idea to remind them not to hold onto you. If they can’t help themselves, keep one hand on the wheel at all times. If they still can’t control themselves, make them wait until you have reached your destination before they start playing around in the car.
Distracted driving is a very serious problem. It takes only a few seconds out of your attention to get yourself in trouble, especially when you are on the road. Although it might be hard to resist distractions when driving, with these tips, you can help keep yourself safe by becoming aware of them. For example, turn off the radio when you are driving. Do not spend time on the phone when you are driving. Keep your eyes on the road. Always buckle up, and have a safe ride.