Driving is a high-risk activity that requires complete and total attention. Here are some tips to help you stay focused on the road, whether you’re behind the wheel or riding as a passenger.
Turn Off Your Phone
It’s not worth it! If you absolutely must make a call while driving, pull over first. Turn off your phone if you’re feeling tired or distracted while driving. Pull over to a safe location before turning it back on again if possible to don’t create unsafe distractions for yourself or other drivers on the road.
Pull over to a safe location when you need to voice-dial someone, search your contacts list for the number of someone important, or do anything else that requires inputting information onto your smartphone without using secondary devices like a Bluetooth keyboard or small portable computer with touchscreen capabilities (if you have one).
Keep Both Hands on the Steering Wheel
You can use one hand for dialing and talking if there’s no traffic around, but never let go of the steering wheel with two hands at any time. Even if you’re moving at a slow speed, you will still have to react quickly in an emergency situation.
Even if you think you’ve heard every last piece of music that could possibly exist, try not to listen to music on an iPod or other MP3 player while driving alone – especially if you are in heavy traffic or have to make quick decisions about braking or accelerating your vehicle.
If possible, set up your listening preferences to only hear audio when there aren’t any cars around. If someone is riding with you, consider playing some of their favorite tunes instead!
Maintain Eye Contact with the Road
It may seem like a natural thing to do while talking on the phone, but taking your eyes off of the road for longer periods can actually increase your overall risk of having a distracted driving accident. Try not to take glances that last longer than 10 seconds – instead, look forward and anticipate what’s coming up in front of you so that you don’t have to stare hard at one object for more than a few moments.
You Can Use Your GPS
If you need directions or any other available data through Google Maps or other navigation tools, pull over first before putting it on. You can even use your smartphone as a GPS while driving. However, you still need to acknowledge that it will be a distraction during typing in destinations and searching for nearby restaurants or stores, as this could turn into a distracted driving accident.
Consider Getting a Car that Has Technology Built In to Block Distractions
New infotainment systems in newer cars can actually help prevent distracted driving incidents. Many manufacturers are even beginning to ship new vehicles with apps that will allow you to use your smartphone’s GPS capabilities through the dashboard console or other electronics installed in your vehicle, which means you don’t have to get your iPhone out while on the road.
Don’t Text and Drive
It’s against the law in most states. Focus on driving, not texting. Wait until you arrive at your destination before checking messages and emails.
Turn off your phone if you’re feeling tired or distracted while driving. Then, pull over to a safe location before turning it back on again if possible so that you don’t create unsafe distractions for yourself or other drivers on the road.
Distracted driving is a major problem in our society. When people are behind the wheel, they should be focused 100% on what’s happening around them and how to react to whatever may happen next.