Distracted Driving is defined as any activity that takes your eyes off the road, your hands off the wheel, or your mind off of driving as a whole. Statistics suggest that as high as 1 in every ten fatal crashes is due to distracted driving. Here are the top five distractions to avoid to keep you safe on the road.
Cell Phone Use. You’ve heard it before; let us say it again. Don’t text and drive. Even a five-second glance at your phone to read a text or reply back “ok” can cost you your life. If you can’t pull over to talk, at least make use of your vehicles hands-free options, and try to keep the phone calls to a minimum. Save any heated discussions for when you are safely parked.
Eating or Drinking. In today’s world of fast pace and fast food, eating behind the wheel is pretty common. Save the food until you are at your destination. If you are on a road trip, take the fifteen-minute break to go inside and eat. That serves multiple purposes- it gives your eyes a rest, stretches your legs, and ensures you can eat and then drive undistracted.
Other people. Passengers can get rowdy. They can also distract you. Try to keep passenger interaction to a minimum. If your fellow occupants are children, ensure they have plenty to keep them occupied. Never try to feed, diaper, or otherwise care for your child when driving. Keep everyone safe, and just pull over. The same goes for pets. Other people also includes rubber-necking. Accidents are morbidly fascinating, but craning your neck to see the other side of the road and/or behind you means you are not focusing on the road in front of you.
Adjusting Instrumentation. Seats, rearview mirrors and GPS devices should be correctly positioned before you get on the road. The same goes for fastening your seatbelt. Windows, climate controls, and fussing with the radio can also distract you.
Smoking. Aside from the unhealthy factor, lighting up, putting ashes in the ashtray, and disposing of the cigarette butt are distractions. Try chewing gum or lozenges to keep your mouth occupied and your hands-free. If you are absolutely in dire need a nic-fix, make a short pit-stop at a rest area. Otherwise, try to wait until you are at your destination.