Have you ever taken your eyes off the road, even just for a few seconds while driving? Come on… be honest! The truth is, or course we all have. And we likely travelled the length of a football field in that short time, which is scary when you think about it. That’s plenty of room for a collision to happen. Keeping distractions to a minimum will help reduce your risk.
Distracted driving is a factor in one in four crashes. And it’s more than just texting; a distraction is anything that takes your full attention away from your main task… driving safely. Any one of these are considered distractions in your car:
1. Using a wireless device, such as a cell phone.
Make a habit of putting your phone calls and texts on hold while behind the wheel.
2. Setting GPS/navigation systems and maps.
Set your route before you leave and, in case of slow traffic, search some alternative routes ahead of your trip.
3. Eating food and drinking.
Sometimes we can’t help but eat on the go. Despite the temptation of easy drive-through snacks, take a few minutes to stop and enjoy your meal or wait until you reach your destination.
4. Programming radio stations or music devices.
Tune in to your favourite station or hook up your MP3 player and set the volume before driving.
5. Personal grooming & hygiene-related actions
Pressed for time? A restroom at your destination will offer more space and likely a better mirror than your rear-view.
6. Talking to and interacting with passengers
Try to keep conversation with passengers to a minimum, and do your best to get kids settled before you leave.
7. Tinkering with dashboard controls.
Get everything set before you hit the gas, or put your co-pilot in charge of cabin comfort.
8. Reaching for items.
Before you leave, do a quick scan to make sure things like your sunglasses or tissues are close enough to grab without looking.
Multi-tasking may be the only way to cope at work or at home, but it’s something to avoid behind the wheel. Remember, when driving, always Watch The Road!
Consumer electronics, used properly and in accordance with regulations and manufacturer guidelines, should make travel safer and assist drivers in keeping their eyes and attention on the road. For example, following voice prompts from your car navigation system is safer than trying to read a map or printed instruction. New back-up cameras and bumper sensors can make drivers more aware of pedestrians or obstacles that might not be visible. On long drives, listening to your latest digital music playlist or favourite satellite radio station will be more relaxing (and less distracting) than changing your radio station every few miles.