When you hear the phrase “distracted driving,” there’s a good chance that texting while driving comes to mind. Reading or sending texts is perhaps the most alarming distraction behind the wheel – glancing at your phone for just five seconds is like driving a football field’s length blindfolded. However, the truth is any activity that takes your attention away from driving is highly dangerous behind the wheel.
According to the CDC, distracted driving increases the collision risk and kills approximately nine people in the United States each day. Drivers need to keep their focus on the road and stay vigilant to other drivers who may be distracted. Here are a few tips for staying safe and attentive on the road:
Technology and driving don’t mix
Today, most people carry their lives on their smartphones. While you may not text and drive, there’s a good chance you’re still glancing at your device for GPS navigation, music, podcasts or other in-car entertainment – which is just as dangerous as reading a text. To stay safe, set up your GPS or playlist before you start driving.
Rubbernecking is the act of slowing down and averting your gaze from the road to see an accident. According to one study, rubbernecking was attributed to 16% of car accidents. No matter the circumstances, you should never look away from the road for too long, including billboards, scenery or other roadside landmarks. In general, don’t do anything that steals your attention for more than two seconds.
Secure your passengers
If you have pets or small children in your backseat, it’s essential to make sure they are as secure in their seats as possible before leaving for your drive. Don’t try to deal with your passengers while driving or let them pull your attention away from the road. If you need to address something in the back seat, pull over to a safe location first.
Some driving distractions can occur even when your eyes are on the road. Talking on the phone, eating, drinking, putting on makeup or letting your mind wander all divide your focus and hinder your driving abilities. You may think multitasking saves time, but doing it while driving puts everyone at risk.
Don’t let these mindless distractions put you and your passengers in danger. By keeping your attention on the road, you can ensure you always arrive at your destination safely.