We’ve all been there. We’re driving along, minding our own business, when we see that little notification pop up on our phone. It could be a text from a friend, a Facebook notification, or even just an email. And before we know it, we’re reaching for our phone to take a quick glance.
But what we don’t realize is that taking our eyes off the road, even for a split second, can have devastating consequences. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 3,100 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2019 alone.
And while most of us are aware of the dangers of texting and driving, we often don’t think about other activities that can be just as distracting. Eating, drinking, fiddling with the radio, and even talking to passengers can all take our attention away from the task at hand: driving.
So what can we do to make sure we’re staying focused on the road? Here are a few tips:
1. Put Your Phone Away: It Can Wait
This one might seem obvious, but it’s worth repeating. Putting your phone away, or better yet, turn it off, is the best way to avoid the temptation of looking at it while you’re driving. No one wants to get into an accident, and although we like to think that we can multi-task, it’s just not worth the risk when it comes to driving. So put your phone away, turn off any notifications that might tempt you, and focus on the task at hand: driving safely. If you need to use your phone for directions, pull over first to enter the address or type in a new destination.
We’ve all seen the public service announcements and read the news stories about the dangers of texting and driving. It’s become such a problem that many states have made it illegal to text while behind the wheel. And for good reason – according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, texting while driving increases your chances of being in an accident by 23%. In connection with this, Tennessee, Delaware, Wyoming, Texas, Montana, North Dakota, Colorada, Iowa, Maine, and Illinois are the top ten states that had the highest numbers of distracted driving fatalities. These statistics are alarming not just for victims, but also for legal professionals who handle these cases. In addition, the increase in the likelihood of accidents is one that is simply not worth the risk.
2. Eat Before You Get In The Car
We’ve all been there: we’re driving along and we start to get a little hungry. So we reach for a snack or even stop at a drive-thru to grab something to eat. But eating while driving can be just as distracting as texting and can lead to dangerous situations. If you’re feeling peckish, try to eat before you get in the car.
3. Limit Your Passengers
Having a conversation with a passenger is one of the most common distractions while driving. And while it might seem like harmless banter, it can quickly take your attention away from the road. If you need to have a conversation, try to limit it to one other person in the car. And if you have kids in the car, make sure they’re occupied with something so they’re not constantly asking you questions.
4. Avoid Using Your Phone Or GPS For Directions
As mentioned before, using your phone or GPS for directions can be a major distraction. If you can, try to enter your destination before you start driving. And if you need to make a change while you’re on the road, pull over to the side of the road first.
5. Keep Your Eyes On The Road
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s important to remember. No matter what else is going on in the car, always keep your eyes on the road and be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to other vehicles, pedestrians, and any potential obstacles or hazards on the road. And don’t forget to check your mirrors frequently! This way, you’ll be able to react quickly if something unexpected happens.
6. Know Your Car
Make sure you know how your car works before getting behind the wheel. This includes understanding features like cruise control and blind-spot detection, as well as being familiar with where all the controls are located. If you’re ever in an emergency situation, you’ll be glad you took the time to learn about your car.
7. Stay Calm
Road rage is never a good idea. If someone cuts you off or drives erratically, resist the urge to retaliate. Instead, stay calm and focus on getting to your destination safely.
Following these tips can help you stay focused on the road and avoid dangerous situations. And remember, even if you’re not texting and driving, you could still be distracted. So always be aware of your surroundings and drive safely.