When behind the wheel, it's important that you do everything you can to be as safe as possible. As a driver, you are expected to obey the rules of the road and keep your focus on driving to help make the roads safe for everyone traveling on them.
Distracted driving isn't something that's hard to do, but it is extremely dangerous. Here are a few things to avoid when behind the wheel that will help you uphold your driving duty of care.
Texting and Driving
Cell phone usage is the number one form of distracted driving. Every day, nearly 8 people are killed as a result of texting while behind the wheel. This is also one of the most dangerous forms of distracted driving because it hits all three categories of distractions.
Cognitive - taking your mind off of driving
Manual- taking your hands off the wheel
Visual - taking your eyes off the road
If you find yourself struggling not to use your phone when driving, try putting it on silent and leaving it in a hard-to-reach spot, like your trunk or in your purse in the backseat of your car.
There are also apps available that can help you avoid texting while driving as well. You can download them on your phone, and they will automatically send a message to anyone who tries to contact you, letting them know that you are driving and will get back to them shortly.
Messing with Pets or Kids
This is something that you should definitely avoid when trying to drive. Having pets loose when trying to operate a motor vehicle can be very dangerous. Although your dog may like to hang his head out of the window to feel the breeze, it's much safer to have them contained.
If you like to travel a lot with your pets, it may be beneficial for you to invest in a pet car seat. Not only can you enhance your safety as a driver, but you can also look out for your pet's safety.
Children can also increase the chances of distracted driving when behind the wheel. They may want your attention, ask for snacks, or even argue with their siblings. It's best to give your children everything they need before beginning to drive. Try leaving snacks, books, or even electronics in the back with them to help you get to your destination safely.
This is something that is common when looking at distracted driving habits. Everyone needs GPS from time to time. However, to avoid driving distractions, it's best to get your GPS set up before you pull off. Sometimes things change, and you have to adjust your destination. This is okay! Just pull over in a safe spot while you change your navigation, and once you're done, you're all set to get back on the road.
Adjusting Your Radio
This, too, can become a huge distraction for someone when driving. It's often second nature to change the song or radio station when something comes on that you don't want to hear. If you find yourself doing this a lot, it may be beneficial to make a playlist or have preset stations set in your radio.
If you need to change something, you can use the controls on your steering wheel rather than taking your eyes off the road completely while attempting to find something better to listen to.
Talking to Passengers
It's always fun to have someone riding in the car with you from time to time. As harmless as this may seem, it's important not to let your passengers distract you too much. When having someone in the car with you, try to avoid excessive laughing, deep conversation, or making eye contact.
Passengers are often the main cause of cognitive distractions because your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road. Your mind is more focused on your conversations rather than driving.
There's probably been a time when we all thought we could benefit from an on-the-go meal when rushing to get somewhere. As time-efficient as this may seem, it can also be dangerous when driving. If you find yourself becoming a victim of eating while driving, try setting a few extra minutes aside in your morning routine, specifically for breakfast. That way, you make it to your destination safe and full of nutrients.
This is another major distraction found when looking at bad driving habits. Putting on makeup or grooming is very dangerous because it forces you to take your hands and eyes off the road. We understand that looking good is important, but try waiting until you are parked in a safe place. The car is not the place to put on makeup or gel down your hair.
Although it may not be as distracting as texting or applying makeup, smoking is also something you should avoid while behind the wheel. Lighting the cigarette, washing in the ashtray, or simply looking for your cigarette package are all things that can take your focus off of the road.
If you are tired, you should not be driving. If you find yourself dozing off when behind the wheel, try rolling the window down for fresh air. If this still isn't helping, it may be beneficial to pull over until you regain the ability to drive without becoming tired and sluggish.
Driving when you're experiencing overwhelming emotions can be very dangerous. Whether you are angry, sad, or confused, these can all lead to cognitive distractions while driving. Take deep breaths and worry about whatever is on your mind once you are in a safe place and can talk to someone about what is going on.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a distracted driving-related accident, don't feel alone, we are here to help. Our team of skilled attorneys has what it takes to fight for your rights.
Call our office today at (888) 200-9431 or fill out an online form to get in touch with our team and schedule your free consultation.