Distracted driving has become just as serious as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Although distracted driving is most commonly associated with texting and cell phone calls, it can involve anything from eating, applying makeup, or being emotionally distraught behind the wheel.
Taking your eyes away from the road for just five seconds while driving 55 mph is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field with your eyes closed. These are some ways to avoid distracted driving of all kinds while getting from your Point A to Point B.
Plan Before Your Drive
If you know you have a drive ahead of you, make your phone calls and send your text message before you leave. If you’re traveling with children, ensure that they are buckled up in their car seats and comfortable for the ride. If you plan to use a GPS device to map your route, input your destination address and make sure the device is working properly before you begin to drive.
Stay Focused on the Road
Keep your interactions with passengers to a minimum while driving so that you don’t become distracted by what they’re doing beside and behind you. If you need to make an emergency phone call, pull to the side of the road in a safe place before picking up your phone.
Avoid Driving When Angry, Upset, or Tired
When some people get angry or upset, the first thing they do is storm out of the house and hop into the car to blow off some steam. Instead of endangering your life and the lives of other people on the road during a shaky emotional state, consider going for a long walk to clear your head and calm down. When possible, also avoid engaging in emotional conversations while driving and save those tough topics for when you reach your destination.
If you start to feel sleepy while driving, pull off the road and check into a motel to get some rest or switch drivers if one of your trusted passengers is feeling alert. Fatigued driving is incredibly dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.
Always Drive Defensively
In all road conditions and situations, it’s important to drive defensively and to be prepared for anything that might come your way. Although lots of drivers make a habit of slowing down to gawk at accidents avoid doing so for your own safety and the efficiency of the roadway. Constantly check your rear-view and side-view mirrors every five-to-eight seconds to keep you brain focused and alert about your surroundings.
Instead of falling into a comfortable driving routine, keep a look out for upcoming construction zones, closed lanes, emergency vehicles, wildlife on the road, and changing traffic patterns. To brush up on your defensive driving skills, consider taking an online defensive driving course that’s approved by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles and 100% online.