The National Safety Council recognizes April as driving awareness month to draw attention to distracted driving. According to the NSC, thousands of people die every year from distracted driving – whether making phone calls, texting, drowsy driving, or eating a sandwich, distracted driving comes in various forms…but are all equally as fatal.
Taking your eyes off the road or hands off the wheel, even for just a couple of seconds, puts yourself and others in a dangerous situation. Swerving into another lane or running through a stop sign happens way too often due to distracted driving. According to the National Safety council, someone is hurt in a car crash every 8 seconds. That number can be reduced by safe driving practices. Here are a few tips to help you pay attention at the wheel and keep you safe.
1. Keep your cellphone at an accessible, but inconspicuous location.
That’s right, just simply placing your phone somewhere discreet will help you reduce the urge to check every notification you receive. Some key places to store your phone are your backseat pocket, your glove compartment, or on the floor of your passenger side. Not being able to see it light up or hear it ring allows you to focus on the road, and not what is happening in your social life.
It is important to note while keeping your phone at a distance may reduce distracted driving, keeping it close enough to access in case of an emergency is necessary! Pull over to grab your phone if you need to use it – don’t put yourself or others in danger by using it while driving.
2. If you must, utilize a hands-free device to answer phone calls.
In some states, using a Bluetooth® earpiece is mandated by law. This little piece of technology is perfect for anyone who has long commutes, or does business on the go. With the click of a button, you can answer your phone – distraction free. Some vehicles now utilize Bluetooth® technology for a quick 1-press answering system that sounds throughout the entire car. While using a hands-free device does not eliminate distracted driving, it can certainly reduce it.
3. Be at your best before you get behind the wheel.
Distracted driving means more than just using technology. In fact, according to DrowsyDriving.org, approximately 100,000 crashes each year are the direct result of driver fatigue. Whether you’re ill, unfocused, or just exhausted, don’t put yourself or others in danger – find another way to get where you need to go. If you’re not feeling 100%, pull over and take a break. Doing so will help you recharge, and make it safe for you to get behind the wheel.
Regardless of what is going on in your life, in the car, or on the other side of the highway, keep your eyes on the road and your mind grounded – it only takes a second for an accident to happen. That means, no eating breakfast, no applying makeup, and no reading a map while driving.
It is important to know what is happening in your surroundings, so constantly checking your mirrors and watching your speed can keep you in the know of what is going on around you, to help prevent any accidents from happening.
Watch our video on Distracted Driving Awareness for more information and stats!
By following these tips and sharing them with others, you can help save thousands of lives. The only thing you need to be doing while driving is…you guessed it…Drive! Instead of letting yourself be distracted behind the wheel, just pull over and do what you have to do. You never know how many lives could have been at risk by driving distracted.
View our other blog posts related to Distracted Driving. This article republished with permission from NMC.