Recent data shows that the number of fatal traffic accidents is decreasing, year on year, and with modern advancements in automobile safety and better standards of driver and passenger protection in general, we can be hopeful of a future in which deaths from auto accidents continue to decrease.
Unfortunately, for now, every driver has to accept and acknowledge the risks and dangers they face while out on the roads, and one of the word problems of all when it comes to auto accidents is distracted driving. It accounts for a large number of accidents, injuries, and deaths every year, causing so much suffering that could so easily have been avoided.
Too often, drivers allow themselves to lose focus on the road, getting distracted by something as simple as their smartphone, a crying child in the back seat, a cup of coffee they’re trying to drink while making a turn, or one of many other potential distractions. To help you avoid these risks, here are some smart tips to prevent distracted driving entirely.
Know the Dangers
One of the best ways in which you can learn to stop letting yourself get distracted while sitting behind the wheel is to educate yourself on the dangers of distracted driving, the risks that can come along with losing focus, and the many potential distractions that you might find in your own vehicle on any given day.
There are many possible distractions out there, with phones being a clear and obvious example. Other examples include GPS systems, car radios, and touch screens, smartwatches, physical maps or documents, snacks and drinks, talkative or angry passengers, or even things outside of the car like billboards, accident scenes, other road users, and more. Know these distractions and avoid them.
Have a Designated Texter
As stated above, one of the worst distractions of all also happens to be one of the most useful items of modern times that many of us own and rely on each and every day: our phones. Today’s smartphones can do much more than simply let you make calls and send messages; they’re veritable all-action news, weather, sport, and entertainment devices, with countless apps and features.
Unfortunately, they’re also immensely distracting, and many drivers admit to checking their phones, sending messages, or taking calls while sitting behind the wheel. One way to avoid this when traveling with friends is to have a designated texter in the group who will take control of your phone while you drive and answer or send messages, as needed, while you focus on the road.
Avoid the Angers of Road Rage
Road rage can also be considered a distraction, and it can be quite a major one, as drivers who give in to road rage start losing focus on the road itself and other cars or hazards around them, instead of focusing purely and simply on one driver who enraged them and letting their emotions take over control of the vehicle, instead of keeping their cool.
Statistics show that road rage contributes to a lot of accidents each and every year, and it’s often the case that enraged drivers end up crashing into other cars or obstacles they didn’t even notice because they allowed themselves to ‘see red’ and lose focus. Don’t allow yourself to follow their example; remain cool and calm and focus on keeping yourself and your passengers safe.
Keeping your car clean, neat, and tidy isn’t just good advice for car owners in general; it’s also a great way to minimize the risks of dangerous distractions. Many distractions can actually happen on the inside of your vehicle, and if you let your car get into a messy condition, you might find more of those distractions starting to appear.
Loose change might roll around as you drive around corners, for instance, causing distracting noises every time, or little items could roll around in the back, taking your attention away from the road. It’s fully recommended, therefore, to set aside some time to clean up your car on a regular basis and get rid of any loose items that could cause problems later on.
Take it Seriously
Perhaps the most important piece of advice that can be given to any driver is to quite simply take driving seriously. Driving is an activity that many of us can do for hours every single day, and when you do something so often, you can start to forget how significant it really is. However, the truth is that being in control of a big metal box and moving at high speeds is an important and dangerous act.
The lives of yourself, your passengers, and other road users are in your hands every single time you take a seat at the wheel, so you have to take that responsibility seriously. Drive with care, caution, and consideration for your fellow human beings, following the rules of the road, obeying the speed limits, and always keeping your hands firmly on the wheel, ready to take action as needed.
Be Careful with Passengers
Driving with other people in the car can be a great way to make your journeys safer, as passengers will act as additional eyes and ears, looking out for any signs of danger and letting you know if something isn’t right. If they’re licensed drivers, they can even take over control of the vehicle and let you have a rest on long journeys.
Unfortunately, passengers also have some drawbacks. They can be some of the worst distractions of all. This can include irritable children crying and yelling in the back of the car or emotional passengers by your side getting into arguments or deep discussions with you. All of these things can be very distracting, so try to enjoy the company of your passengers but make sure to let them know if they’re distracting you too much.
Distracted driving causes so many accidents every year, but if more people start making efforts to put their phones down and keep their eyes on the road, a lot of lives can be saved and a lot of unnecessary damage can be prevented.