Distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents in the U.S., but many drivers think it’s only dangerous when other motorists do it. A 2012 NHTSA study shows that while 94 percent of motorists supported laws criminalizing texting while driving, 14 percent of the respondents said they had read emails and texts while driving. This shows just how difficult it can be to refrain from checking your phone or giving in to distractions while driving. Below, we discuss a few ways to avoid the temptation and enhance your safety on the road.
1. Text and call before hitting the road
If you have to text, send emails, or make calls, consider doing it before getting behind the wheel. Some calls cannot be ignored, but instead of risking your life, it would help if you made or answered that call before hitting the road.
2. Do not multitask
Distracted driving statistics show that phones are not the only form of distraction motorists get on the road. Anything that takes the driver’s attention off the road, whether it is a gadget on the dashboard, a snack or a passenger, is considered a distraction.
Refrain from plugging your phone to the charger, changing music, eating, getting immersed in conversations between passengers, etc. for as long as you are on the driver’s seat of a moving car. All these amounts to distracted driving and could lead to deadly collisions.
3. Pull-over to receive calls
For extremely important calls that you didn’t foresee before embarking on your journey, consider pulling over and parking the vehicle safely on the side of the road before answering them. If you are nearing your destination, you can ignore the calls for the moment, but don’t use them as an excuse to speed.
4. Get a passenger to answer calls for you
If you receive an unexpected call, you can always get one of your passengers to answer the call for you and inform the caller that you are driving. Anyone who cares about your safety will understand the situation no matter the urgency of the message they have for you.
5. Limit the amount of activity in your car
During driving activities such as road trips with friends, it is hard to control the level of activity in the car. This can be distracting to you even if you are not actively involved. To avoid it, always tell your passengers to minimize movement in the car and, if possible, try not to involve you in their conversations.
A more viable way to curb this form of distraction is to not have too many of your friends in the car, especially if some are intoxicated. Note that some states prohibit teenage drivers from having other teens in their cars for a few months after getting a driver’s license, so ensure your state allows it before inviting your friends for a drive-around.
Taking your focus off the road, even if just for a few seconds, can increase your risk for a collision. The above tips can help you shun common distractions and ensure the safety of both you and your passengers.