The National Safety Council has deemed April as Distracted Driving Awareness month. Most of us drive every day. It is easy to let our guard down and let bad habits settle in. Every year, distracted drivers are responsible for about 2.5 million car crashes. This blog is a quick guide to help maintain good habits while driving. It is easy to become distracted while driving. Some of the common ways that drivers become distracted at the wheel are texting while driving, talking on cell phones while driving, checking messages & emails while driving, looking at a map/GPS, eating while driving, putting makeup on, changing the radio station, reaching for something, or talking to a passenger. Have you ever been driving down the road, then next thing you know you are at home? What a strange feeling. A few things that you can do to help reduce your chances of becoming distracted while driving is to.
- Use your cell phone for emergency situations only. While you are driving, a cell phone should only be used for emergency purposes. Even then, it is best to pull over safely to the right shoulder to make a call. Even hands-free devices can still cause you to miss important visual and audio cues needed to avoid a crash.
- If you are drowsy, pull off the road. Drowsiness increases the risk of a crash by nearly four times. A government study showed that 37 percent of U.S. drivers have nodded off or fallen asleep at least once during their driving careers. If you feel tired, get off the road; do not try to get home faster.
- You should limit the number of passengers, as well as the level of activity inside the car. Most states’ graduated driver licensing laws prohibit teens from having teenage passengers in the car with them during their early months of driving solo. Driving with friends can create a dangerous driving environment because novice drivers are focused on their friends rather than the road.
- Avoid eating while driving. Being busy is no excuse for distracted driving. Finishing your breakfast on the way to work or school may seem like a time-saver, but it means you are less attentive to the drivers around you. Food spills are a major cause of distraction.
- Do your multi-tasking outside the car. Everyone spends a lot of time in their vehicles, and it may seem like the perfect time to get little things done like calling friends, searching for good music, maybe even text messaging. Do not do it. Focus on the road and the drivers around you. Get everything settled before you start driving.
These are things that we have been told or taught during our driving career. It is easy to let our guard down and start taking more chances. Next time you are driving keep these tips in mind. It could save your life or a life of a loved one.