Maybe your idea of a perfect drive is driving alone with the windows open, the radio turned to your favorite tunes, and enjoying the scenery along a winding and serene road. Sounds pretty nice, right? In reality, a trip (whether long or short) in the car may consist of a dog hogging the open window, children in the backseat fighting over the radio station choice, and you trying to focus all your attention on the busy traffic on all sides. Unfortunately, “multitasking” doesn’t only take place in the home or office, but it takes place on the roadways making drivers more distracted than ever before.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,153 people are injured each day in crashes involving a distracted driver. While a majority of drivers view texting and driving as the biggest distraction on our roadways, any action that takes your eyes and mind off the road and your hands off the wheel is a distraction. Whether you’re checking an email on your smartphone, eating a sandwich, or attending to a crying child while you’re driving, any distraction can result in a fatal accident that could have otherwise been avoided or prevented.
Tips for Eliminating a Distraction
Eliminating distractions in a multitasking world may seem like an impossible feat, but with a little practice and patience you may end up just sitting back and enjoying the ride. First of all, ditch the idea that multitasking is okay to do while behind the wheel of the car. Once you come to terms with that, the rest will be a lot easier:
Cell phone Use: While your smartphone may be your best friend it may also be your arch nemesis. Nobody needs that drama, so don’t bring it to the confines of your car. Before you start driving, take care of any important phone calls or emails so that you’re less likely to check while you’re on the road. Either turn off your phone, put it out of reach, or even use a texting and driving prevention app if you don’t think you have the willpower to leave your phone alone. If you must use your phone, either take a phone call or send a text, make sure that you are pulled over (safely and legally).
Noisy Passengers: If you have children or are even part of a carpool, you can’t really get rid of your passengers. If you become easily distracted or lose concentration when someone is talking while you’re driving, you’ll have to find a way to ask for some peace and quiet. For your children, make sure they have everything they need before you start driving and it’s never too early to teach them to use quieter voices when the car is in motion. If you have a chatty adult passenger that can’t seem to take a hint as you struggle during gridlock, you may just have to be honest and ask them to stop talking for awhile. Tell them it’s for “everyone’s safety”.
Grooming, Eating, & Everything Else: One of the reasons that many people drive distracted is because they don’t leave themselves enough time to get everything done while they’re at home or at the office. Rather than struggling to get everything done in your car, plan ahead and get more done at home or the office. If it means getting up an hour earlier every day or getting organized the night before, it’s worth it in the long run.