Distracted Driving: Tips For Proactive Prevention

distracted driver textingAccording to Distraction.gov, the number of drivers injured due to distracted driving accidents is nearing almost a half million people every single year. While everyone on the road is in danger when drivers are distracted, it is often younger drivers who make up a high percentage of these accidents. Driving requires full cognitive and motor skills in order to be safe, and this is why it is important for all drivers to utilize these tips and tricks to remove distractions while behind the wheel.

The single easiest tip to help avoid many of the major distractions is to take a little extra time before taking any trip. While most will not need an hour of preparation, taking care of a few basic chores will help to reduce many of the annoyances that tend to pop up. This begins by thoroughly planning one’s route beforehand. For those who use a GPS service in their car or on their smartphone, the directions should be input beforehand and the device should be toggled to voice controls. This will remove the need to constantly check on a map, which is one of the most common distractions.

Eating a meal and grooming are two other common distractions that should be carried out before or after a trip. Unfortunately, options such as drive-through restaurants make it easier than ever to grab some food while on the go; but juggling a drink and sandwich while steering can be a deadly mistake. Instead, drivers should pull over to eat, or plan out a short snack before or after their trip. Grooming also requires one or both hands, and making a little extra time before running off to work or leaving for school is a habit that all drivers should have.

When discussing distractions while driving, smartphones tend to be the topic of conversation. While smartphones may help drivers with maps or even music at a low volume, they are also one of the biggest distractions. In order to carry out a quick text or input directions into a GPS app, drivers must give their phone visual, manual and cognitive attention. According to the National Highway Safety Commission (NHSC), this makes them the single most alarming distraction, and they should be put on silent whenever possible.

For drivers of any age, the most effective way to end distracted driving is thorough education. By preparing for and removing distractions ahead of time, upward of 3,000 car accident fatalities per year may be avoided.