Distracted driving is a social scourge that has received significant media attention in recent years. From major plot lines involving distracted driving crashes on popular network television shows to awareness campaigns and advertisement by police agencies and state governments, attempts at raising awareness have certainly succeeded.
Most people readily understand how dangerous distracted driving can be. However, they may not actually take adequate steps to prevent themselves from engaging in that dangerous practice. If you haven’t sat down to think about avoiding different kinds of distractions while you drive, you could actually be driving distracted more often than you think.
Mobile phones are a major source of risk
Obviously, looking down at your phone to write or read a message or email is dangerous. So is filming video or taking a selfie while driving. Even if you engage in these practices while stopped at intersections, your mind will remain focused on your phone instead of the road for some time after you send your message.
In other words, your best option is to simply commit to not using your phone in the car. Turn your ringer off. Ideally, you can place your phone in the center console of your vehicle or even in the glove compartment.
Avoid conversations that become distracting
Whether you talk to loved ones on a Bluetooth headset or have someone along for the ride, conversation can be part of what makes a commute or road trip and durable. Unfortunately, the more exciting the conversation, the more it’s going to keep you from focusing on the task at hand.
If you find yourself getting emotional or feeling compelled to look at the other person in the car, you may need to take a pause. Let the people who ride with you know that no matter how much you love talking to them, you prefer getting them to your destination safely.
Grooming and snack breaks are for before or after driving
If you have a long commute to work, you might think that you can put on your dress shirt, tie your tie, style your hair or even apply makeup on your way to work. While multitasking may save a few minutes off of your daily routine, it’s going to distract both your mind and your hands from the important task of keeping your vehicle safely under your control.
You will constantly find yourself looking for opportunities to check your appearance in the mirror or button another button. When you engage in those activities, you will be more focused on them then on driving safely.
Staying focused on the road can be difficult, especially if you have a long commute. However, driving is one of the most dangerous things that you do. The best way to keep yourself safe is to stay focused on the task and on arriving safely at your destination.