What Are 5 Distractions You Can Avoid When Driving?

Studying with electronic devices

Studying with electronic devices while driving can be extremely dangerous. Texting, browsing the internet, or even trying to make a phone call while behind the wheel can lead to unnecessary accidents. The temptation to check your phone for notifications or receive and respond to emails can be enticing, but the risk it poses to both the driver and other individuals on the road cannot be ignored.

Many states have implemented laws forbidding the use of phones while driving due to the numerous recorded incidences of incidents and fatalities that have occurred as a result of distracted driving.

To avoid electronic distractions when driving, I recommend:

  • Placing your phone on silent mode, or completely turning it off before getting behind the wheel.
  • Setting your GPS or music playlists before beginning the journey
  • Assigning a passenger to operate your electronic devices, if necessary, to keep your hands free while driving.

Distractions caused by searching for objects inside the car

Every driver has been in a situation where they drop something inside their car while driving and then begin to search for it. This action can quickly turn into a severe distraction, leading to accidents. Looking for objects like a pen or your phone can take your concentration away from the road and lead to deadly crashes.

It is essential to keep your eyes strictly on the roadway and try to avoid distractions, no matter how trivial they may appear.

Here are some ways to avoid searching for objects inside the vehicle:

  • Ensure that all loose items are secured before the journey starts
  • Place your phone, wallet or any other frequently used items within reach before starting the car
  • Assign a co-passenger to retrieve any necessary items during your journey.

Examining something outside the vehicle

Looking at something outside the vehicle can occur unexpectedly and cause a massive distraction. It could be an accident happening on the road ahead, unusual wildlife, or simply something unusual that draws your eye. While it’s natural for people to take a look, it’s essential not to get too caught up in observations, particularly when driving.

If you must focus on something outside the vehicle, it’s essential to pull over to a safe stop and then look. Don’t give in to the temptation to drive and look simultaneously, as it often results in crashes or injuries.

To avoid being distracted outside the vehicle, you should:

  • Stay alert to any potential obstructions on the road or around the vehicle.
  • Resist the temptation to look at flashing lights, accidents or wildlife and concentrate on the road ahead
  • Only pull over in safe places with minimal risks.

Avoiding potential distractions by not eating while driving

Eating while driving may seem like a convenient way to multitask and save time, but it can become a significant issue. Eating while driving takes your hands off the wheel, causes fatigue and lack of concentration, and more dangerous situations than any other type of distraction. Being distracted while driving from eating might cause you to overlook traffic signals, make wrong turns, or swerve off the road.

Here are some ways to eliminate the distractions caused by eating while driving:

  • Ensure that you consume any food or snacks before driving or after you reach your destination.
  • Avoid grabbing fast food or any food that requires assembly or unwrapping while driving.
  • Only eat on the go if you are a passenger, or if you are parked in a secure spot.

The risks of applying makeup while driving

Applying makeup when driving is yet another example of how one can cause an unnecessary distraction. Re-applying lipstick, touching up foundation, or any other type of makeup application when driving is dangerous and can lead to severe consequences. Taking one’s attention away from the road increases the chances of accidents and fatalities drastically.

To avoid being distracted from putting on makeup while driving, consider the following:

  • Get yourself ready and apply makeup before you begin driving
  • Use public transport to touch up makeup, or assign an assistant to apply makeup while the car is not in motion.
  • Always pull over to a safe spot if you must touch up makeup while on the road

Tips for reducing distractions on the road

Reducing distractions while driving is essential for your safety and the safety of other drivers. Here are some tips to help minimize distractions on the road:

  • Keep your electronic devices away or assign a passenger to operate them if necessary
  • Ensure that all loose items are secured before the journey starts
  • Stay alert for noisy passengers and limit conversations to a minimum
  • Avoid consuming meals or makeup application while driving
  • Pull over to a safe spot if you must attend to any required tasks while driving

Examples of distracted driving accidents

Distracted drivers are responsible for numerous car accidents leading to injuries and deaths. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving caused 2,841 deaths and 115,000 injuries in the US in 2018. Below are examples of real-life distracted driving accidents:

  • In March 2018, an Uber autonomous car killed a pedestrian as an operator in the vehicle was looking at a phone
  • In 2016, a driver crashed into another car, killing five people instantly, while recording a video on Snapchat and driving at over 120 mph.
  • In 2012, a driver veered off the road while texting behind the wheel, plowing into a group of men on a motorway hard shoulder, killing a 28-year-old father of two.

The importance of staying focused while driving

In summary, driving safety and focus should never be disregarded while operating any vehicle. Reducing distractions while driving is critical and can help reduce the risks of accidents, injuries or fatalities. It’s essential to practice safe driving habits and stay alert while on the road. Remember, driving demands your full attention, so focus on safe driving and limit all possible distractions.

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