Distracted driving is a serious issue. A driver is considered to be distracted if he or she is doing anything that takes their attention away from the road. This includes talking on the phone, texting, eating, drinking, and grooming. Distracted driving is a problem for three reasons: it’s dangerous, it’s illegal in many states, and it can lead to expensive fines. In order to stay safe while driving, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of distracted driving and know how to avoid it. Here are eight ways to do just that.
1. Put Your Phone Away
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s worth repeating. If you want to avoid being distracted by your phone, put it away. That means no putting it on the passenger seat or in the cup holder. Put it in the glove box or in the trunk. If you can’t put it completely out of reach, at least turn off notifications so you won’t be tempted to look at it every time it buzzes. If you get caught up in a phone conversation, pull over to the side of the road to finish it. And if you get caught by the police, or if you’re a victim of someone else’s negligence, start by searching car crash lawyers near me because you’ll need one. Additionally, some states have hands-free laws, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the laws in your state.
2. Don’t Eat or Drink While Driving
It may seem like a harmless way to save time, but eating and drinking while driving is a distraction. It’s easy to spill food or drink on yourself, which can take your attention off the road. And if you’re holding something in one hand, that leaves only one hand free to steer. If you must eat or drink while driving, pull over to a safe location first. Additionally, try to avoid messy foods that require a lot of napkins or utensils, as these can also be distracting. If you must eat in your car during a longer trip, a sandwich or anything you can eat with only one hand is okay.
3. Don’t Groom While Driving
This includes activities like putting on makeup, brushing your hair, and shaving. Not only can these activities be distracting, but they can also be dangerous. For example, if you’re putting on mascara and you get some in your eye, that could cause you to veer off the road. And, if you’re shaving, you could easily cut yourself. So, it’s best to wait until you’re stopped to take care of your grooming needs.
4. Keep Your Eyes on the Road
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to keep your eyes on the road at all times. That means no looking at your passengers, no looking at the scenery, and no looking at your phone. Additionally, you should be scanning the road ahead for potential hazards. By keeping your eyes on the road, you’ll be able to react quickly if something does happen.
5. Don’t Drive If You’re Tired, Emotional, or Sick
Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as distracted driving. If you start to feel tired while driving, pull over to a safe location and take a nap. It’s also important to avoid driving late at night or early in the morning when you’re likely to be the most tired. If you must drive during these times, make sure to stop for coffee or energy drinks every few hours. If you’re angry, sad, or otherwise emotional, it’s best to avoid driving. These emotions can cloud your judgment and make it more difficult to focus on the road. If you must drive while emotional, take some deep breaths and try to relax. And, if you’re feeling sick, it’s best to avoid driving. Being sick can make it more difficult to focus on the road and could lead to accidents. If you must drive while sick, take frequent breaks and pull over if you start to feel dizzy or nauseous.
6. Avoid Bad Weather Conditions
If the weather is bad, it’s best to avoid driving altogether. But if you must drive in bad weather, be extra cautious and focus on the road. Rain, snow, and ice can make driving conditions more difficult and increase the risk of accidents. Such weather can also reduce your visibility, so be sure to drive slowly and increase the distance between you and the car in front of you. If possible, avoid driving during rush hour when traffic is the heaviest.
7. Don’t Drive If You’re Under the Influence
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to avoid driving if you’ve been drinking or taking drugs. Not only is it illegal, but it’s also extremely dangerous. If you must drive after drinking or taking drugs, be sure to get a ride from a sober friend or call a taxi. A driver under the influence is more likely to get into an accident, so it’s best to avoid driving if you’re not 100% sober. Additionally, if you’re taking medication, be sure to check the label for any warnings about driving. Some medications can cause drowsiness or impaired vision, which can make driving more dangerous.
8. Be a Defensive Driver
In addition to avoiding distractions, it’s important to be a defensive driver. This means being aware of your surroundings and driving defensively. Pay attention to the cars around you and be prepared to react if someone cuts you off or drives erratically. And, always give yourself enough time to brake. If you’re following too closely, you may not have enough time to brake if the car in front of you suddenly stops.
Following these tips can help you avoid distractions and be safer on the road. But, ultimately, the best way to avoid accidents is to drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings. If you do this, you’ll be less likely to get into an accident, no matter how distracted other drivers are. So, the next time you get behind the wheel, remember to keep your eyes on the road and drive safely!