April is the month to become more aware of all the distractions we face while driving and hopefully put into place some measures to reduce those distractions. We all have had those moments when we are in a big hurry to get home or we are running late for work. We are driving and we even use the time in our car as an open window to multi-task. Although you may feel the need to do other things while driving, thinking it will save you time, you are putting yourself at greater risk of getting into an accident.
Every day, at least nine Americans die and 100 suffered injuries in distracted driving crashes. As drivers, we already know that our focus needs to be solely on the road, but it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the importance of safe driving and some of us really need a recap on how to avoid distracted driving.
Here are some tips that will help you be a less distracted driver.
- Driving a car is not the time to multi-task! You may feel like there’s no harm in getting small things done while driving. Whether it be putting on make-up, shaving, searching for good music, or responding to a text message, in reality, you have become a distracted, unsafe driver.
- Don't drive while you are tired. If you are feeling run down, lethargic, or drowsy — take a nap; not a drive. This information is also important when you are driving. If you feel sleepy behind the wheel, pull off the road and take a nap.
- Do not be on your phone. You should use your phone for emergency situations only. Be sure you are not operating the vehicle at the time you use your phone, rather, you safely pull over to the shoulder of the road to make a call or text.
- If your children become unruly, pull over to talk or discipline them. As a parent, you are fully aware of how unruly your children can become while in the car, but it is important to not discipline them while driving. If you do, you are creating an incredibly dangerous scenario. Instead, pull your vehicle over to the side of the road to correct the behavioral issues.
- Try not to eat while you are driving. You may think that it saves time, but you ultimately become less attentive to the drivers and pedestrians around you.
- Don't have too many passengers in your car. Limiting the number of people you allow in the car at one time will reduce the level of activity and sound, which could be distracting. If you end up focusing more on what your friends are doing, you are creating a dangerous driving environment for all.
These are just some ways you can stay focused while driving. However, the very best and easiest way to avoid distractions is to ensure you have everything you need and all tasks complete prior to getting into your vehicle. This includes reaching for a piece of gum to having a heated phone conversation.
What tasks you could not complete prior to driving, can wait until you safely reach your destination. Safe driving, everyone!