Dangers of Distracted Driving

Driving while distracted accounts for a very large percentage of accidents each year worldwide. The term distracted driving simply means that the driver of a motor vehicle is distracted by something, whether voluntary or involuntary, and it causes them to not pay attention to the road and other cars. Many states are now passing different laws designed to prevent distracted driving. This problem affects men and women, young and old, and is something that every car owner should be aware of. Many deaths and serious injuries each year can be avoided simply if the driver would pay closer attention to what they are doing. Cell phone use and texting, reading maps, putting on makeup, eating, and watching DVD’s while driving are just a few examples of what people do to become distracted while they are driving. Here are some tips to help you avoid driving while distracted and stay safe on the road:

  1. Any time you drive, make sure you get plenty of sleep and feel well rested before getting behind the wheel. Tired drivers often cause accidents, so be sure to get rest and if you feel tired, pull over to a safe area and take a short nap.
  2. Always make driving safety as the most important priority. Wear your seat belt, and focus on the road ahead as well as other cars around you.
  3. If you are in need of driving directions, put the destination into your GPS unit in advance. If you don’t have a GPS, print out or write down thorough directions so you can easily get where you need to go without having to look at a map or deal with the GPS while driving.
  4. Always keep both hands on the wheel when driving. People who have a cell phone in one hand or a cup of coffee have a higher chance of getting into an accident because they cannot move over quickly with one hand if needed.
  5. Cell phone use is a very common cause of many accidents. Use a hands-free set if you must talk on the phone, or turn your ringer off and take voice mails until you can safely stop somewhere and return the calls. Never text while driving.
  6. For women, putting on makeup can be a distracted driving hazard. Make sure you’re already made up before you leave your home, or bring your cosmetics with you and give yourself more time to primp and polish when you get to your destination.
  7. Eating and driving is also very dangerous, so try to eat a meal before you hit the road. If you get hungry while on a longer trip, stop somewhere and eat your meal rather than eating it while on the road.
  8. If the weather is serious or hazardous such as rainy or snowy conditions, it is important to be especially vigilant when driving. Try to keep conversations with other passengers to a minimum so you can focus on the task of driving safely.
  9. Be aware of construction zones, and pull over to the correct lane as soon as possible when advised. Always be on the lookout for traffic pattern changes and unusual signs.
  10. Small screens are often seen inside many cars on the road these days, and they’re usually used to play movies to help keep kids entertained. As a driver, it is best to avoid installing a monitor up front where you can watch the movie, which will obviously cause a serious distraction.
  11. If you’re traveling with pets, they can often be a serious distraction. Make sure they are secured or pinned while you drive so they do not get in your way.
  12. For people worried about missing important calls, change your voice mail to let people know you’re currently driving. This will put your mind at ease, and prompt them to be patient and wait to hear from you when you’re stopped.
  13. Make sure your vehicle is safe and road-ready before long trips. This includes proper tire tread and inflation, oil changes and that your wiper blades and fluids are up to par.
  14. Do not reach behind the driver’s seat for something or dig into the glove box while driving. Make sure you have everything you’ll need easily near you without the need to dig to try and find it.
  15. If you have kids in the car, make sure they’re well entertained so that they are not distracting you. Be sure they have games to play or something to read that will keep them happy and quiet as you drive.

Driving should be a safe experience. If you follow these simple tips, you can stay focused and feel good about driving anywhere at any time. Avoiding the temptations of the many distractions we have while driving can save your life and potentially the life of others as well. Practice these safe driving tips and your trips, long or short, should be safer.

For more information about distracted driving and safe driving tips, please refer to the following websites:

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