Tips To Avoid Distracted Driving

Tips To Avoid Distracted Driving

by Kathy Southers

A report from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHTSA) shows that in 2020 3,142 people were killed in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), distracted driving was a factor in the deaths of 9 people per day. The most common cause of distracted driving is using mobile phones while driving. But distracted driving is more than just using your mobile phone while driving.

The NHTSA states that distracted driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving. As mentioned, using your mobile phone to talk or text is one version. Eating, drinking, adjusting heating and air conditioning, applying makeup, looking for a fallen item, changing GPS settings on a navigation system are other common versions of distracted driving. Anything that takes your focus off the road ahead counts as distracted driving.

A fallacy that most people believe is that you can multitask while driving. This can lead to occurrences of delayed reaction, braking time, and collisions. The steps to not be a distracted driver begin before you get into your vehicle.

  • Be rested: Driving while tired is impaired driving. If you are already driving, start feeling tired, it’s best to pull over and properly rest.
  • Dress / Groom: Something that needs reminding is that you should be fully dressed, including adjusting your hair and applying makeup before you leave the house.
  • No eating: Managing eating while driving takes your focus off the road, and can also make your hands leave the steering wheel. 
  • Make sure children or pets are properly secured: If you have children or pets accompanying you in the car, make sure they have been properly secured, and anything they may need on the trip before putting your car in Drive. Also be sure that the doors near them are locked so that they will not be able to open them while you are driving.
  • Pre-start navigation: Make sure to set your destination in your phone or vehicle’s built-in navigation, and hit Start/Begin before you start the trip. Also make sure your navigation system is near eye level to avoid taking your eyes off the road.
  • Set mirrors: If you are not the only driver of your vehicle, make sure to set up your mirrors in the proper locations.
  • Put mobile phone away or in Airplane mode: If you are utilizing your mobile phone as your vehicle’s navigation system, be sure to put it in Airplane mode so that there will not be any on-screen distractions. If you are not using your mobile phone as your navigation system, be sure to put it on Silent, and away from you, as not to be tempted to check it while driving.
  • Do not overly engage with your passengers: Conversations can become distracting while driving. Be mindful, especially, to not be passing items among one another. Your goal, for their safety, is to maintain focus on driving.
  • Avoid incidents of road rage: Others’ distracted driving should not lead you to get distracted by getting angry or upset with other drivers on the road.
  • Stop at any point: If you must reset your navigation, check on a child or pet,  make an important phone call or text, be sure you pull over as soon as possible, and put your car in park.

By being mindful about driving safely, you will avoid distracted driving. Thus keeping yourself and others safe on the roads and the streets around them.