One of the biggest hazards on the roads is distracted driving. Distracted driving has always been a big problem that anyone who has ever gotten behind the wheel has been guilty of from time to time. With the rise of cell phones over the past couple of decades, a problem that was bad enough already has risen to terrifying levels. There are many things that all drivers can do (or not do) to make the streets safer for everyone.
Put Your Phone Away
One of the most dangerous activities a driver can take part in is using a cell phone while driving. While not quite as bad, even hands-free calls pose a danger. Texting is one of the worst things you can do with a phone while behind the wheel. If you need to make a call or text with someone while out on the road, then pull over.
Unless you are Jason Bourne or some other action hero involved in a covert mission, no call needs to be made while behind the wheel.
Don’t Eat or Drink
Food and drink not only cause you to take a hand or two off of the wheel, but they can cause further distraction, especially when there is a spill. Eat before you leave or pull off the road and drink while stopped at a light.
Don’t Drive While Tired
In many cases, tired driving can be even more dangerous than driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Being overly tired can have many of the same dangerous side effects as drugs or alcohol, including both auditory and visual hallucinations. Drowsy driving plays a role in over 100,00 crashes in the United States every year.
Finish Getting Ready at Home
Every day far too many drivers on the road finish their grooming in the car. For some, it is because they got off to a late start that day. For others, it is because they have made this part of their daily routine. People do all sorts of different activities while driving their cars to get ready for their day, including:
- Hair combing
- Brushing teeth
- Putting on makeup
- Putting on jewelry
- Getting dressed/changing clothes
While many people may view these actions as absurd things to do while driving – especially going so far as to put on shoes while cruising down the road – for some people they are common practices. None of these are safe actions to perform while behind the wheel. Not only do they distract drivers by pulling their attention from the road, but they also force drivers to take one or both of their hands off of the wheel for extended periods.
Make Sure All Settings Are Optimal Before Hitting the Road
Drivers should always make sure everything is set up in their vehicles before they start to drive. This is especially true when driving a shared vehicle. Most likely, the other driver or drivers prefer different settings for some things than you do, so make sure that everything is the way that works best for you.
Mirror placement should be checked and modified if needed. You should adjust the climate control and radio to your preferred setting. Make sure the seat and the steering wheel are both in comfortable positions that allow for the best control behind the wheel. If you need to set a destination on your GPS, do so before taking the car out of park.
Keep Your Vehicle Clean
Having items strewn around your car can lead to distractions in many ways. If your windows are open loose papers could start to fly around a bit. Items could roll around on the floor of your car and possibly even roll up under your feet and potentially pose a very dangerous threat if they get under the pedals. Improperly stored drink cups could lead to spills that take your attention away from the road.
Many things can lead to distractions while on the road. The most important thing a driver can do above all is to be aware of the risks and do their best to minimize them. Even the most vigilant driver will become distracted from time to time. The key is to minimize distractions and actively focus on safe driving.
You should also remember that not every driver is going to practice the safest driving strategies, so be aware of the vehicles around you. Defensive driving is one of your best ways to protect yourself while on the road. If you are hurt in a car accident read more about how a car accident lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve.