Top Ten Tips for Eliminating Distracted Driving
Distracted Driving Month is coming to a close, so if you haven’t made a resolution to change negative driving behaviors, now is the time. Share these tips with your family and friends – especially with the teen drivers you know. You could make a life-or-death difference for someone you love.
- Get up early.
Make time to do your make-up, eat breakfast, drink your coffee, and catch up on emails while you’re still at home. This will reduce the temptation to do these tasks in the car, where they can impair your driving to an even greater degree than being intoxicated.
- Stash your phone.
If you know you won’t be able to resist answering your cell phone, put it in the glove compartment, the trunk, or otherwise out of reach before you start the car. Consider installing an app designed to disable your phone while driving: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2014/01/apps-that-shut-out-distractions/index.htm.
- Set rules for your passengers.
Loud conversations, arguing siblings, and excessive motion inside the car can be distracting. Make sure your passengers (of all ages) know that they need to be quiet, sit still, and keep their hands to themselves while you’re driving.
- Limit conversation.
Even conversations with passengers inside the car can impede your concentration on the road – especially emotional or heated conversations. It’s best to save those deep thoughts for your destination and keep in-car discussions light and brief.
- Get enough sleep.
Driving requires you to be physically and mentally well-rested. Fatigue plays a big role in motor vehicle accidents and can be a major element in driving distractions. If you become drowsy, pull off the road and take a short nap; or switch drivers, if you have another licensed driver in the car.
- Plan your trip.
If you’re headed somewhere unfamiliar, don’t rely solely on your phone or GPS device for directions. Research your trip and plan your route in advance. If you get lost, pull over to read the map or check your device.
- Implement a food, drink, and smoking ban.
Don’t allow yourself or your passengers to eat, drink, or smoke in the car. Not only will you keep things clean, you’ll eliminate a major source of distraction.
- Leave the radio alone.
If you want to listen to something in the car, set it up before putting the car in drive, and avoid the temptation to switch stations or CDs en route. Taking your eyes off the road for just a few seconds can be fatal.
- Avoid alcohol in any amount if you know you’ll have to drive.
If you’re going to an event that you know will involve drinking, make a plan to either avoid alcohol altogether, assign a designated driver, or make arrangements to take public transportation. Alcohol in even a small amount can impair your driving ability.
- Leave your pets at home.
Unless your pet is restrained in an appropriate carrier in the back seat and is capable of riding calmly – without barking, whimpering, or whining – leave him at home. Limit trips with pets to those that are absolutely necessary, like veterinary check-ups and trips to the groomer.