Even drivers who are well aware of the dangers of inattentive driving sometimes become distracted behind the wheel. Whether attention to the road flags because of a coffee spill or an incoming text message, distracted driving accidents resulted in more than 3,100 fatalities in 2017 alone, according to National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration data.
Try these tips to avoid distractions behind the wheel and protect yourself and others on the road.
Limit phone use
That call can wait until you are safely at your destination. Even if you use a hands-free device to talk, it still takes your attention away from the road if you focus on a conversation. When you must make or take a call, first pull into a rest stop or parking lot.
Keep your car tidy
When you have loose items rolling around your vehicle, an object shifting under your feet or blocking you from effectively steering can be a dangerous distraction. Prevent the need to reconfigure your space mid-drive by removing or stowing unnecessary items from the car before each trip.
Put devices out of sight
If you often feel tempted to text or check social media behind the wheel, stow your smartphone in the trunk or in an unreachable console compartment. Break the habit of looking at your phone when traffic slows or at a stoplight, since you still need to be alert even if the vehicle is not in motion.
Mute your notifications and other sounds until you get to your destination. Many phone models have a “do not disturb” feature specifically for this purpose.
Giving yourself extra time to get to your destination can reduce the urge to multitask on the road. For example, enter the necessary address in your GPS before you pull out of the driveway. If you need to eat breakfast, wake up early enough to do so at home to avoid getting distracted by your meal behind the wheel.
With these proactive steps, you can help make the roads safer for everyone. Set a good example when it comes to distracted driving.