When you are on the road, you want to cut down on the potential for distraction. Even a moment’s inattention can result in a serious accident. While texting during driving is a rising concern, any of the three major types of distraction can lead to severe consequences. The following tips will help you keep your focus and drive safer.
Using a GPS or a smartphone app to find your way? Be sure to program it before you start your car, including any detours or stops you plan to make. Even giving voice-activated instructions can take your focus away from the road. You also do not want to have to look at the map on your screen, so check your settings to ensure that turn-by-turn voice directions are on.
Texting and phone calls are other major sources of distraction. Many people are already aware that they should not be texting or holding a phone while driving. However, when you hear a text alert, it can be tempting to just quickly check if it is anything important. Put your phone where you can’t reach it while driving. If you need to have it on your dashboard for directions, turn off sound alerts and scrolling notifications for texts, calls and other apps.
The people traveling with you can distract you in a variety of ways. Just because your hands are on the wheel and your eyes are on the road does not mean that your attention is not wandering. Avoid touchy issues that may spiral into arguments that absorb your focus.
If you are traveling with children, advanced planning can cut down on the risks of noise, whining and fighting. Make sure they have everything they need for the trip within reach before setting out, including snacks and entertainment. Of course, there will be times when nothing will work and they will have a meltdown anyway. If this happens, pull over as soon as you can. Do not turn your attention from the road to settle disputes or dole out consequences.
Do not do anything else with your hands while driving. Activities such as eating, drinking or smoking occupy your hands and can also distract you. Picking up food or beverage containers can also lead to spilling or dropping. When that happens, many people instinctively react by trying to wipe or pick up the mess, leading to increased distraction and raising the risk of accidents.
Avoiding loss of focus is a good way to increase driving safety. However, there are always factors beyond your control, such as unexpected weather and other drivers. If you do suffer an accident on the road, contact a knowledgeable attorney to discuss your options.