Giving in to distractions on the road can be tempting, but if you keep a clear mind and stay focused on the road, you’ll be protecting the well-being of yourself and others alike.
April is Distracted Driving Awareness month, so we’re taking a look at how to stay alert behind the wheel. Did you know that removing your eyes from the road for just two seconds doubles the risk of a crash?
Distractions are, unfortunately, on the rise. Personal injury lawyers have seen an influx in the number of distracted driving cases in recent years thanks to cell phones, GPS, and enhanced infotainment systems.
Below, we walk through the types of distracted driving as well as tips for driving distraction-free.
What are the Types of Distracted Driving?
Though there are countless ways to lose your focus on the road, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention separates common distractions into three types: visual, manual, and cognitive.
A visual distraction is anything that keeps you from looking directly at the road while driving, including texting and looking at things on the side of the street. While you may not think this takes long, NHTSA found that sending a text while driving takes an average of 5 seconds.
Manual distractions are those that force you to remove your hands from the steering wheel, such as eating or reaching for something outside of the driver’s seat. Many drivers often forget the dangers of cognitive distractions, which are mental diversions (emotions and daydreams, for example) that keep you from thinking about what you’re doing behind the wheel. These three categories of distractions often overlap, and those that do tend to be even more dangerous.
4 Tips for Driving Distraction-Free
Once you’ve identified what exactly is distracting you while driving, it’s important to know how to avoid those distractions in the future. The way you respond to distractions is a crucial part of avoiding dangerous and possibly life-threatening situations. Follow these suggestions to keep yourself focused on the road and set a good example for younger or future drivers.
Stow your phone out of reach
We depend on our phones for almost everything nowadays, so it’s naturally tempting to answer any notification that comes through. This can be extremely dangerous in the car, so avoid the urge by placing your phone somewhere impossible to reach from the driver’s seat, like the glove compartment or back seat.
Appoint a passenger as your designated texter
If you’re in the car with somebody else and are worried about missing an important message or call, delegate a passenger to answer the phone for you. This way, you can safely focus on the road without the stressors of the outside world in your pocket.
Turn your music volume low
One of the most common cognitive distractions for drivers is loud music or radio. Keep the volume of your speakers to a reasonable level so you’re still able to pay attention and hear sirens or honking from other drivers.
Use apps to safety hack driving
If you find it impossible to drive without your phone somewhat present, there are several mobile apps that can help you stay as safe as possible while driving. Some apps alert you when you’re driving too fast, and others can silence all functions on your phone that aren’t music or navigation.
Giving in to distractions on the road can be tempting, but if you keep a clear mind and stay focused on the road, you’ll be protecting the well-being of yourself and others alike. For a more comprehensive guide on the dangers of distracted driving, check out the following visual from Dolman Law.