We all have had those moments when we were running late for work or in a big hurry to get home. Some of us even use the time it takes to drive to our destinations as an open window to multi-task. Although you may feel the need to do other things while driving, thinking it will save you time, you are actually putting yourself at greater risk of getting into an accident.
Every day, at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured in distracted driving crashes. As drivers, we already know that our focus needs to be solely on the road, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the importance of safe driving and let’s face it, some of us really need a recap on how to avoid distracted driving.
Here is a rundown of items that will help you be a safer driver.
- Use your phone for emergency situations only. Be sure you are not operating the vehicle at the time you use your phone, rather, you safely pull over to the shoulder of the road to make a call or text.
- If you are feeling run down, lethargic, or drowsy — take a nap; not a drive. This information is also important when you are driving. If you find yourself starting to feel sleepy behind the wheel, pull off the road and take a nap.
- Avoid eating while driving. You may think that it saves time, but you ultimately become less attentive to the drivers and pedestrians around you.
- Do not allow for your vehicle to be over-crowded with passengers. Limiting the number of people, you allow in the car at one time will reduce the level of activity and sound, which could be distracting. If you end up focusing more on what your friends are doing, you are creating a dangerous driving environment for all.
- No multi-tasking while driving. You may feel like there’s no harm in getting small things done while driving. Whether it be putting on make-up, shaving, searching for good music, or responding to a text message, in reality, you have become a distracted, unsafe driver.
- Pull over to discipline your children. As a parent, you are fully aware of how unruly your children can become while in the car, but it is important to not discipline them while driving. If you do, you are creating an incredibly dangerous scenario. Instead, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road to correct the behavioral issues.
These are just some of the ways you can stay focused while driving. However, the very best and easiest way to avoid distractions is to ensure you have everything you need and all tasks complete prior to getting into your vehicle. This includes reaching for a piece of gum to having a heated phone conversation.
What tasks you could not complete prior to driving, can wait until you safely reach your destination. Safe driving, everyone!