It may not carry quite the same social stigma as driving under the influence, but distracted driving can be just as dangerous; maybe more so. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, inattentive drivers contribute to 80% of all collisions on the road.
And while improvements to technology have made many aspects of driving better, additional technology also creates additional opportunities for distraction, which makes safe-driving strategies even more important.
Let’s take a look at a few distracted driving tips, tactics and strategies you can use to stay focused while you’re on the road.
Store Your Phone Somewhere Safe
Phones are among the most distracting devices that you can bring with you while driving. Texting while driving is extremely dangerous, but talking on the phone while driving can also be distracting.
Even if you’re using a speakerphone or connecting your phone to your car’s audio system through Bluetooth, talking on the phone while driving can take your focus off the road and increase your likelihood of getting into an accident.
To reduce both your temptation and risk, your best bet is to put your phone somewhere out of reach while driving, and make sure not to schedule any calls for times when you know that you’ll be behind the wheel.
Adjust in Advance
Electronic devices aren’t the only things in your car that could distract your attention from the road.
Make sure you’ve adjusted all of the features within your car so that you’re comfortable and ready to focus when you start off. Set your radio and seat to your preferred settings, adjust the mirrors, and temperature as needed and make sure you won’t need to look at or touch the dashboard very often once you’re in motion.
Don’t Eat and Drive
While it may seem like an efficient way to squeeze a snack into your schedule, eating while you’re behind the wheel of a car can be incredibly distracting.
As a rule of thumb, make sure to eat before you embark on any commute or long haul journey where you know you’re going to be in the car for a while. If you find yourself getting hungry, resist the urge to pull into the drive-through and instead eat in the restaurant.
It will also give you a good chance to stretch your legs and use the restroom, so you’ll be more relaxed and focused when you continue your drive.
Let it Lie
If you drop something while driving, there’s good news: it’ll still be in your car when you arrive safely at your destination.
According to statistics from CAA, when a driver reaches to try and pick up a moving object in their car, they are 9 times more likely to get into an accident. Instead of significantly increasing your risk, it’s better to leave the object on the floor and pick it up after you’ve stopped.
The only exception is if you’re worried that whatever you’ve dropped could potentially find its way underneath your pedals and prevent you from either stopping or accelerating as needed. If that’s the case, pull over as quickly and as safely as possible and put the car in park before reaching down to remove the item.
Focus on the Road, Not Your Look
While you may be tempted to laugh if you glance over and see someone in the car next to you fixing their makeup, adjusting their tie or picking their teeth in the mirror, the truth is that it’s not funny; it’s dangerous for both them and you as a driver in their vicinity.
Stealing glances at yourself in the mirror and adjusting your look as you drive is distracting because it takes both your physical and mental focus off the road. Make sure you attend to your physical appearance before you get in the car, so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re on the road.
Know Where You’re Going
Sometimes one of the biggest distractions is trying to figure out where you need to go or which turn you should make while your car’s already in motion.
If you’re not familiar with your destination or the route you’ll take to get there, make sure to review a map before you go so you have an overview and at least a general understanding of where you’re headed.
When using a GPS device, make sure it’s stably mounted on your car’s dashboard so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to look at it. You also want to make sure you’ve entered the address into it in advance so there’s no need to touch it again once you’re on the road.
Distracted Driving is Deadly
While distracted driving can be a danger both to you and those around you on the road, using the strategies listed above will help you remain focused and arrive at your destination as safely as possible.
Unfortunately, even when you do everything right, accidents do happen, and there are no guarantees that you won’t cross paths with other drivers who make mistakes.
You may not be able to prevent accidents from occurring, but with the right auto insurance coverage you can at least feel comfortable knowing you’re covered should anything happen.
Coverage is subject to policy wording, terms, conditions, and deductibles. Protection is limited to the perils, coverage, exclusions, and limits shown on the policy.