With so many things happening around you at once, it’s important to stay focused when you’re driving. Driving distractions can cause some serious issues when you’re behind the wheel and lead to accidents. You want to make sure you’re avoiding accidents that result in you having to file an insurance claim report, or in the worst case scenario hurting or killing someone. According to the NHTSA, 3,477 people were killed in auto accidents involving distracted driving in 2015 alone, and teens were listed as the largest group of those reported as distracted at the time of the fatal accident. That is such a sad statistic when you think about the fact that some smart, defensive driving could have prevents almost all of these deaths!
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes. Audible distractions like loud music or sounds outside the car, visual distractions like phones or GPS’, delicious distractions like crunch wrap supremes from Taco Bell. We want to make sure we address all of them so you know what’s cool, and what’s not behind the wheel. Here are our 11 driving tips and no-no’s to reduce distractions and help you focus on the task at hand (driving, duh).
- Wait for a red light before you attempt to do anything not driving-related. Take a sip of your coffee or change the radio station during these red light breaks. Maybe practice your whistling or your air guitar skillz. Just don’t do it while you’re operating the vehicle and you’re in motion. Multitasking is a myth- it’s impossible to fully focus on two things at once.
- Put away your laptop and tablet. This should be obvious, but definitely do not watch videos on your laptop while you drive. Like, for real.
- Keep Spot in a crate. I know it’s tempting to let him hang his head out the window and let his jowls flap in the wind, but it’s not safe for you or your pup if they’re distracting you. Put them up before you start driving.
- No minivan parties. Keep your passenger count to a minimum and keep ‘em under control. As the driver, you’re the car czar – you should be enforcing seat belt laws and making sure your passengers aren’t being too loud and distracting while you’re operating a vehicle.
- Put the book away. Don’t read while you’re driving. That’s just crazy talk. Don’t worry, Jon Snow will still be [SPOILER ALERT – CONTENT REMOVED] when you get to your destination. This kind of distracted driving behavior can lead to auto crashes. Why would you changing risking it like that?!
- Get ready before you leave. Bae would rather you arrive safely than look good, trust us. Don’t do your makeup in the car, or try to do your hair behind the wheel. Reduce distractions by allowing enough time to get ready before you get behind the wheel.
- Don’t rubberneck at traffic accidents. Sure, you want to see, but do you have to see? BOGO accidents aren’t actually a good deal.
- If you need to use a GPS to get around, set your destination before taking off and don’t fiddle with the device while you’re moving. This can reduce distractions and prevent you veering off the road and hurting yourself, passengers, pedestrians, other cars, and property.
- Settle on music early. Get those driving playlists ready to go so you don’t have to look for music or change songs while driving. Fiddling with car controls and radio dials while you’re on the road can be a lot more distracting than you think.
- No eating. Eating is a huge distraction. It takes more than just one of your senses away from driving. If you feel a snack attack coming on, at least wait until you’re stopped at a red light. Preferably though, pull over and finish your snack or meal before getting back on the road. If you pull out a delicious snack and start eating when you’re taking your driving test at the DMV, you’ll definitely fail.
- DON’T USE YOUR CELL PHONE. Studies show that using your cell phone is the most distracting, most dangerous thing you can do when you’re driving. That phone call or text can wait ’til you reach your destination. You can help other drivers avoid distracted driving too if you’re riding along as a passenger. Doing things like banning texting and driving from those you ride with, navigating for them or calling them out for bad behaviors can help keep everyone safer.
By avoiding these things, you can become a better driver who’s ready for anything. Drive safe.