Distracted driving refers to driving while engaged in distracting activities such as talking and texting on the phones, including eating, grooming or reading. Hands-free technologies won’t totally eliminate distracted driving. There are still risks of the driver keeping their eyes or focus off the road.
Distracted driving risks the lives of passengers and pedestrians. In 2011, more than 3,000 were killed and almost 400,000 were injured in because of distracted drivers. This is according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Research indicates that 80% of teenage girls and 50% teenage boys admitted that they texted while driving. Distracted driving is considered the number one teen killer in the USA especially during the summer. Watch this youtube video on the dangers of texting and teenage driving: Texting and Summer Driving: Getting Real about the Risks.
So how do you avoid distracted driving and keep the road safe for pedestrians as well as for your passengers? Here are 10 easy to do tips to manage common distractions to drivers.
Turn your cell phone off and put it away while driving
Switch your cell phone to silent mode or turn it off before you get into your car. Then put it away so that it’s out of reach during the duration of your travel.
Direct callers to an automated voice messaging service
Use a recorded voice message to tell callers that you are driving and will get back to them soon when you’re off the road. If your phone doesn’t have this feature, you can sign up for services offering such feature.
If you think the call is too important to miss, then pull your car over to a safe area before taking the call.
Ask a passenger to answer or text for you
If you are waiting for an important call or needed an answer to the text immediately, you can ask your passenger who probably is your family member or friend to take the call for you or reply to a text for you.
Don’t text at all!
It is a law and for safety reasons that you should never ever text and drive, nor surf the web or read emails while driving. You cannot concentrate on the road if you have hand held phones or smartphones. It is just too dangerous not only to your passengers and pedestrians but to you, the driver as well.
Know the law
Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. Know the state and local laws before you drive. There are some states that are strict in implementing rules against handheld phones.
If you want to use a GPS device, be sure to enter the destination before you start your car. A map or written directions must also be reviewed in advance so you don’t have to read them while on the road. You can also ask for assistance from your passenger to look at the map or read the directions to you. The best thing to do is to follow tip no. 3: pull over and change your GPS or review your map or directions.
Secure your pets
When you have your pet in the car, make sure it is secured and fastened. If not, pets can be a big distraction while you drive.
Attend to the kids
Like pets, kids can also distract you off the road. Pull over to a safe place to make sure your kids are comfortable. Crying kids might be hungry or wet so you need to address their concerns first.
Focus on driving
Any activity that keeps your eyes and mind off the road is a distraction. Multi-tasking while driving can be risky. So don’t drive while eating, drinking, grooming, reading or smoking.