The thought of getting into a car accident is frightening to all of us. But the truth is that most car accidents are avoidable. Recent data shows six out of 10 car crashes are caused at least in part by a distracted driver. This could mean anything from using a cellphone to talking with passengers to simply zoning out and focusing on something other than the road in front of you. To help you prevent car crashes as best you can, here are a few tips for distraction-free driving.
Turn Off Your Phone
Cellphones have become the single biggest distraction for drivers, and the simplest solution is to the problem is merely to turn the phone off. This will be difficult for some people, but odds are you aren’t going to get an urgent phone call or text message that needs an immediate response while you’re driving. If you tell someone that you were driving and couldn’t get back to them any soon, odds are they’ll understand and you’ll be much safer while on the road.
If you have passengers in your car, let them work for you and not against you. Simply let the person in the passenger seat handle the GPS, get the EZPass out of the glove compartment, and find the best radio station. They can even answer phone calls or return text messages on your behalf if you want them to. If you’re behind the wheel, your focus should be on driving, and all other responsibilities can be handled by someone else.
Avoid Using Bluetooth
Some people view bluetooth and voice commands as the solution to distracted driving, but it’s not. Such systems can actually be worse because they make you think you’re driving without distractions but in reality your attention is somewhere other than the road in front of you. Remember, hands-free doesn’t mean distraction-free; your mind also has to be free of distractions while driving.
Have A Pre-Drive Checklist
Before you take off, have a list of items you check off to ensure no distractions pop up while you’re driving. Get your music sorted out, adjust your mirrors, and figure out your climate control. If you need a GPS, put in your destination before putting your car in drive. Any little things that could throw off your focus should be taken care of before you start driving.
No Food in the Car Policy
Such a policy will make you a better driver and help keep the inside of your car clean. If you can, eat before you leave, so you’re not tempted to have a snack while you drive. If you must eat midway through your trip, find a restaurant with seating or a rest stop along the way so you’re not doing two things at once. Eating something in a moving vehicle, especially if you’re trying not to spill, is definitely going to take your attention away from the road.
Don’t Be Afraid To Pull Over
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to pull over. Obviously, you have to find a safe place to stop, but if you have to make an important phone call, consult your GPS, or do something that’s going to take your attention away from driving, it’s better to be safe than sorry. There’s nothing wrong with pulling over to the side of the road in order to avoid driving with distractions.