By now, we’re all familiar with the dangers of texting and driving. Using a cell phone while driving is illegal to some extent in all 50 states, many people still do it. And texting while driving is not the only serious form of distracted driving. With increasingly busy schedules, drivers need to resist the urge to multitask while behind the wheel. Read on for our top tips to avoid distracted driving.
Put Away Distracting Devices
The easiest way to eliminate distractions while driving is to put your cell phone and any other devices out of reach. It’s impossible to text if your phone is in your trunk! However, many people use their phones to listen to music while they drive or for the navigation system, so this may not be the best solution for you. Check out these apps that will help prevent distractions while you drive.
Only Leave Home When Fully Ready for the Day
While it may be tempting to save some time in the morning by finishing getting ready in the car, it’s also dangerous. Applying makeup, shaving, brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and getting dressed should all be done in the comfort of your home.
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Ask Your Passengers to Lend a Hand
If you have other passengers in the car with you, ask them to help out! Have them make phone calls, answer texts, or be in charge of the radio and the thermostat while you focus on the road. It’ll keep everyone safer in the long run.
Secure Any Gear or Cargo in Your Car Properly
Don’t get distracted by objects rolling around in the back or passenger seat. Secure everything properly before you hit the road and you won’t be tempted to reach around to grab them while driving.
Keep Drive Time and Meal Time Separate
With the convenience of drive-thrus, we see more and more people eating while behind the wheel. Trying to make sure you don’t spill while driving is incredibly distracting. If you have to eat while on the road, pull over and take a few moments to eat in peace. It’s no fun to eat while stuck in stop and go traffic anyway!
Properly Secure Pets and Children
Make sure your children and pets are properly secure in their seats and carriers while driving. Not only is it extremely dangerous in case of an accident, they can also be super distracting. If they’re in their proper place for the entirety of the trip it will make for a better drive for everyone.
Take Care of Urgent Business Off the Road
If you get a phone call or a text message that has to be dealt with immediately, pull off the road to a safe location to deal with it. There are laws in some states that prohibit drivers from using phones if the car is on, even if it is in park. Play it safe and turn the car off and deal with the situation before heading back out onto the streets.
Save The Debates for Later
Whether it’s with a passenger in the car or a phone conversation through a Bluetooth equipped device, keep conversations light. Having serious or emotionally charged conversations can be incredibly distracting and can force your mind to wander off the road. Save the heart-to-hearts for when you get to your destination.
Stay Off the Road If You’re Sick, Tired, or Emotional
Studies have found that driving while tired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. If you’re sick or emotional, the same can also be true. If you’re feeling under the weather, read the label on any medications you’re taking to make sure it’s safe for you to get behind the wheel.
Talk to Siri Sparingly
As great as hands free communications are for drivers, they can still be incredibly distracting. Keep your voice commands to a minimum, and use them only when absolutely necessary to keep everyone safe.
Don’t Listen to Distracting Music or Podcasts
Everyone has that one song that they can’t help but dance to when it comes on. Keep that one off your driving playlist. The same goes for those incredibly thought provoking podcasts. If it causes your eyes or your mind to wander, enjoy it when you’re out of the car.
Practice Using Car Features
If you’ve just gotten a new car, take some time to familiarize yourself with all the buttons and knobs you might need to use while the car is in park. You don’t want to get too distracted while trying to figure out how to turn on your windshield wipers during a sudden rainstorm, or trying to defrost your windshield in case it fogs up. Practice turning these features off and on, plus your headlights and the thermostat with your eyes on the road so you can handle them like a champ.
Plan Your Route Before You Leave
Before you leave your driveway, be sure your GPS is properly programmed. You don’t want to have to be messing with it while driving and enter the wrong information. Many vehicles with navigation systems built in won’t allow the GPS to be manipulated while the car is in motion, which is definitely a good thing in terms of safety.
Keep in mind that distracted driving is dangerous for everyone on the road, not just you. Do you have any other tips for how you keep from getting distracted behind the wheel? Let us know on Facebook!