The road already comes with plenty of distractions, so why would you want to add even more? Unfortunately, distracted driving is a major factor in accidents and a leading cause of fatal accidents, especially in younger drivers. It is also something that can easily be prevented. Today, I am partnering with East Hills Subaru, to share some simple ways you can prevent distracted driving.
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Scary Distracted Driving Statistics
According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. fatalities from traffic accidents rose 7.2% in 2015 to 35,092—the biggest increase in five decades—and distracted driving played a role in 10% of those deaths. Additionally, the NHTSA found that fatalities from “distraction-affected” crashes increased 8.8% to 3,477 from 3,197 for that same period. The next time you get into your car, use these safety tips to make sure your hands stay on the wheel and your eyes and mind stay on the road.
What Is Distracted Driving
While many think that distracted driving is mainly texting or making calls while driving, the truth it encompasses a lot more than just that. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving is “any activity that could divert a person’s attention away from the primary task of driving.” Furthermore, distracted driving is categorized into three main types of distraction:
Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
Cognitive: taking your mind off of driving.
Many activities you wouldn’t even consider as distracted driving actually are. This includes things such as eating and drinking, smoking, grooming, reading maps, using your GPS system, adjusting your radio or MP3 player, and even adjusting your vehicle’s temperature controls. And that’s just a partial list!
Instead of becoming a statistic, use these tips below to prevent distracted driving.
6 Simple Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving
Be Prepared Before Hitting the Road
Grooming and eating are very common distractions that should be taken care of before you even get in the car. To prevent these activities, give yourself plenty of time to apply makeup, style your hair, shave, dress and eat before you leave your home. Avoid leaving makeup and other grooming supplies in your car. Avoid bringing along food, and if you get hungry while on the road, eat at the restaurant or pull over and park in a safe spot to enjoy your meal.
If traveling, plan your trip ahead of time, programming your GPS and reviewing your route before you leave your driveway.
Out of sight, out of mind
The easiest way to avoid distracted driving is by putting all distracting objects and subjects away when driving. This includes your cell phone, handbag, snacks and more.
It is also a smart idea to secure all loose objects so you’re not caught off guard when they shift around or tempted to pick them up if they fall.
Turn It Down
Music can easily become a distraction when it’s too loud or the content is too engaging, causing your mind to wander from your driving. Loud music prevents you from being able to hear what is going on in traffic around you. Additionally, sometimes music can be so stimulating, you don’t even notice that you are speeding up, singing with your eyes closed, and moving along to the beat. Choose your tunes wisely, turn it down, and remember music is supposed to serve only as background noise.
Keep Calm, Drive On
Driving during an argument or an emotional or heated discussion is extremely dangerous. The same applies for when you are stressed out, sleepy or ill. Whether you are dealing with a passenger or talking on the phone, your vehicle is not the place to handle anything that distracts you mentally, emotionally or physically from your driving. If the situation requires your immediate attention, pull off the road in a safe location. Otherwise, save it until you get to your destination.
Leave That Phone Alone
Although the majority of drivers won’t admit it, people use their Smartphones all too often while driving. And contrary to popular belief, hands-free usage is just as dangerous as holding the phone in your hand. The best way to prevent the temptation of using your phone while driving is to turn off or turn down your ringer, disable text alerts, and leave your phone out of easy reach.
Another option, and one that works well with teen drivers, is to download one of the many apps that prevent you from texting or talking when behind the wheel. Available for both iPhone and Android, safe driving apps can do pretty much everything from blocking calls and texts to sending parents notifications when distracted driving is detected. Some even reward distraction-free driving.
Put your passengers to work
If you have passengers in the car with you, have them do some of the work. Let them handle the navigation system, the air or heat, and the sound system. You could even ask them to reply to calls and texts with a simple reply letting the caller or texter know you are driving. And if you happen to be the passenger instead of the driver, speak up if you notice your driver is distracted. Offer to adjust controls, be the navigator and read the map, reply to texts and anything else you can do to help prevent them driving while distracted.
What are some of the ways you prevent distracted driving? Share with us in the comments below.