They are talking on the phone, eating meals, texting friends, reading letters, applying makeup, checking Facebook and even changing clothes while driving. In the process, those distracted drivers are making the roads a lot less safe for everyone else.
You’re probably not the one holding a coffee cup in one hand, a cell phone in the other and driving with your knee. But here are some pointers that could keep you from becoming one of the thousands of distracted drivers involved in crashes every day.
So how can you keep your mind on the road when there are so many other things – whether it be cell phones or hamburgers – competing for your attention? Here are some tips, courtesy of the AAA Foundation, that might help reduce distractions while in the driver’s seat.
Plan ahead: Before you hit the road, look at your map, check your directions and check traffic conditions.
Turn off your phone: As hard as that may sound, turning off your phone will reduce the temptation to talk or text while driving. Even if you have hands-free capability in your car, the simple act of answering the phone is distracting – not to mention how distracting the actual conversation is!
Prepare children and pets for the trip: Make sure to buckle your kids and get them set up with snacks and entertainment before you head down the highway. The same goes for pets. Get them situated for the trip before you go.
Satisfy cravings off the road: Eat meals and snacks before hopping in the driver’s seat. If you plan to travel a long distance, take a break during meal times.
Avoid unnecessary clutter: Stow away any loose objects that could roll around while you’re driving. Those objects are bound to take your attention away from the road.
Don’t change clothes: Your car isn’t a dressing room. Don’t try to swap outfits, apply makeup or shave while driving. Do that before you leave or after you reach your destination.
Get your head in the game: Focus on what you’re supposed to be doing: driving. Don’t let your attention wander from the traffic ahead, where you want to be the first to spot brake lights or a possible obstruction in the road.