5 Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving Related Car Accidents
In 2016, the National Safety Council estimated that auto accidents involving distracted driving caused 330,000 injuries nationwide. The National Highway Safety Administration defines distracted driving as any activity that diverts a driver’s attention while operating a vehicle. In the age of Smartphones, this includes things like texting, using Twitter or Snapchat, and scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. As our reliance on technology increases, people are finding it harder and harder to put down our phones and focus on the road. However, distracted driving is an inherently dangerous activity.
When you make the decision to check your Tinder app behind the wheel (if you’re into that sort of thing), you place all of those around you in jeopardy. Many times, when a car wreck happens, the first thing uttered by onlookers will be “I bet he was on his phone.” Planning ahead to avoid distractions is a great way to avoid serious personal injuries or death. Below are a few simple tips to help you avoid the dangers of distracted driving.
- Get your multi-tasking done before you start the car, then set your phone to Do Not Disturb. For a lot of people, getting in the car means picking the right playlist or podcast, responding to an email, and pulling up directions. For many, these processes continue while they are on the road. Get them out of the way before you start he car. Take care of your Spotify playlist, return that call from your friend, and then turn off your phone’s notification and put it away. Turn on your Do Not Disturb to avoid the temptation to check the source of those rings and vibrations.
- Go Hands-Free. If you have to take a call, use your car’s hands-free feature. Most modern vehicles are built with a Bluetooth integration that allows you to sync your phone and your car. Studies conducted by the National Highway Safety Administration have repeatedly shown that drivers talking on their phone using their hands-free technology are significantly less likely to be involved in a car accident than drivers who insist on keeping their phone to their ear. Take the time to sync up your phone and avoid the distraction of a phone call.
- Don’t eat and drive. When we talk about distracted driving accidents, we tend to think of cell phones, but that isn’t the only activity that can distract the average driver. Eating while driving is perhaps the most common form of distracted driving, and it is just as dangerous to divert your focus to a burrito as it is to a text message. Do yourself and the drivers around you a favor and don’t eat and drive. Wait until you get home, eat beforehand, or simply pull over so that you can enjoy your meal without the risk of distractions.
- Don’t allow your passengers to distract you. Whether you are a parent driving your kids to school or a teenager driving your friends around town, there is always a risk of unnecessary distraction from your passengers. Don’t allow them to take your attention off the road, and ask them to respect that you need to focus on driving the car. This is often easier said than done, but it is absolutely necessary to ensure that everyone gets to their definition in one piece. The driver is the boss!
- Utilize a co-pilot. Rather than letting your passengers distract you, put them to good use. Let them control the music or the maps so that you can focus on what’s important.
Distractions happen. At some point or another, we have all been distracted drivers. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be prevented. Make the choice to avoid unnecessary distractions next time you get behind the wheel.