With all the electronic temptations beeping and blinking to get our attention, it’s no wonder that accidents caused by distracted driving have been on the rise.
Luckily, you can reverse this trend by understanding the causes of distracted driving-related accidents and taking a few simple steps to help keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel.
Know Your Enemy
There are three types of distracted driving, according to The U.S. Department of Transportation:
- Visual: Taking your eyes off the road
- Manual: Taking your hands off the wheel
- Cognitive: Taking focus off the road
Distractions caused by passengers in the car, changing the radio station, eating, drinking, and texting can easily fall into all three of these categories. Distraction.gov reports that texting, for instance, takes the driver’s eyes off the for an average of almost five seconds — and redirects the driver’s focus and fingers as they type out their thoughts. And at 55 MPH, that’s equivalent to driving blind across an entire football field.
Although younger drivers are among the most likely to text and talk while driving , anyone can lose focus behind the wheel. To stay alert and attentive while you’re driving, follow these simple safe-driving tips:
- Keep your cellphone on silent and out of reach. This may seem impossible, but it’s one of the best ways to avoid the temptation to text and drive.
- Park to eat. While you may want to jump back on the highway with fast food in your lap, staying in the parking lot for a few extra minutes could help prevent a serious collision.
- Get directions before you leave. Trying to read a map or program a GPS while driving requires more attention than you can spare. If you need to change your destination while en route, pull over to update the directions.
- Ask your passenger to change the station. When driving alone, use steering wheel controls to adjust the station, if available. If not, wait until you are at a stop light or parked to change the music.
Recommended by the Editors:
- Beyond Texting: Avoid All Distractions While Driving
- Top 10 Distractions for New Drivers
- Do Dashboard Restrictions Diminish Distracted Driving?