Distracted Driving

Distracted driving habits can get the best of us. We all like to think that we are doing our best to stay safe on the road and prevent anyone from being put in danger. Yet, our universal addiction to texting or calling friends on the phone, eating in the car and distracted ourselves with other forms of entertainment puts our cars at high risk for a crash. Based off of findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, either cognitiely or visually distracted drivers account for over four hundred thousand accident related injuries and over three thousand fatalies from 2013 alone. That number is climbing as phones are quickly advancing and responsive GPS systems are being built into the newest car systems as potential distractions. 

While it can be impossible to completely cut off our handy phones and other technoogy while driving in the car, there’s actions we can take as responsible drivers to prevent dangerous accidents from happening. Many of us are driving at least once a day in the car and need to be completlyy focused on what is happening on the road. Let’s review the different dangers of distracted driving so we can take measures to change for the better!

Refrain from distracted driving.

Habits Of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can include a variety of activities like blasting music in the car, texting or calling on the phone, eating by the wheel, or even turning around to the beakseat to talk to a friend. No matter where you are driving, it’s extremely important to avoid the following activites to decrease the risk of a crash on the road:

  • Focusing on stressful tasks or experiences: when we’re driving on the road, we need to make sure that our minds are calm and ready to take on the changing enviornment around us. Cognitive or mental distraction descibes the scenario when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on driving but anohter issue that may cause them to feel emotional while controlling the wheel. The futher our minds start to wander and worry about the “what ifs” from our week, the more liekly we may overlook a car suddenly slowling down or speeding past that may put ourselves in danger. Take care of difficult phone calls or tasks before you get on the road. If the issue can wait, make sure you silence any notifications or put on calming music so you have mental space to concentrate.
  • Looking at our phones: this activity is a no brainer, but it’s suprising how often we look at our phones or even hold our them in our right hand while controlling the steering wheel of the car. If you can put on the GPS built into the car, try to silence your social media alerts and text messages where possible. If you’re working and need to rely on your phone to get around, make sure you let your coworkers know you’re getting on the road and can answer their calls later. Even putting your devices on airplane mode or put your devices on “do not disturb” mode while driving can prevent things that will mpair your driving judgement. A Volvo stacked with safety features, a luxury Kia converitble and a bulky Jeep SUV all have the same chances for getting into a crash when the driver isn’t fully focused on making quick decisions while driving. 
  • Handling different activites at once: using our hands to contorl the wheel and play around with a meal, our phone or even a planner can drasticlly icnrese the risk for a crash. Manual distraction is when the driver takes one or both hands off the wheel and starts to juggle a variety of tasks while in the vehicle. If you brough coffee or a snack for the road, try your best to wait until a red light or until you’re sitting in slow traffic on the highway to take a bite. No one wants to start their day off with an expensive damage or spilled food on their fresh clothes because they weren’t paying attention to the road!
  • Not maintaining the vehicle: besides staying aware of our personal concentration levels, make sure your vehicle is up to speed in maitence and ready to take on the road. Being stuck in public with a dead car battery, a flat tire without a spare, or a emergency alert going off is not a fun way to drive. Keeping tabs on your vehicle’s status every few weeks and getting fixes done quick as soon as an issue comes up will spare major headaches when you’re rushing out the door.

Staying Safe On The Road

In order to stay safe on the raod, try your best to minimize all distractions and let your loved ones know in advance that you will be getting on to the road. Helping other stay aware of your driving and focusing on the changing surroundings around you is key to stay safe. Whenever possible, put your technology down, switch off the loud music or podcast, and take out the road food for best practice. We can’t guarantee that other drivers are doing the sme either so mainting extremely sharp focus helps a driver practice defensive driving and stay away from troubling individuals. Think of any possibilties that can happen while driving, use all of your turn alerts, and start to drive slower when you are in a crowded section of a road. If you are on the highway, maintain a healthy distance from the vehicle in front and be extrmeely careful when passing anotehr car on the lefthand of the freeway. Building safe habits now will help you keep peace of mind and avoid potential car issuess moving forward!

Put the phone down to prevent distracted driving.

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