How To Keep from Getting Distracted While You Drive




It’s 8am and you jump in your car to drive to work. You have every intention of driving safely, but within minutes of merging onto the expressway you’ve already checked your makeup in the mirror, fiddled with your car’s radio, grabbed a quick bite to eat, checked your smartphone for latest notifications, made a couple of phone calls and replied text messages all while driving. You might not realize it, but you’re a distracted driver.

Distracted driving covers a broad range of risky behaviors that ultimately diverts a driver’s attention from what he or she should be focusing on: driving. From talking with passengers, to eating, to turning around to check on fidgety toddlers, distracted driving endangers you, your passengers, pedestrians and others. When it comes to understanding and avoiding distracted driving, there are three types to look out for: Manual, Visual & Cognitive.


Each time you take your focus off the road, even if just for a split second, you’re putting your life and the lives of others in danger. Focusing on your driving can help reduce the risks of accidents significantly. In everyday driving, however, distractions are common. According to Federal Road Safety reports, this accounts for a greater percentage of fatalities on the highway and contribute to a higher collision risk.

So how do you manage your driving distractions or keep from getting distracted while you drive? These few tips can help.

1. Put Down your phone


It is no surprise, given today’s “connected society”, that mobile phone use while driving is a growing problem. Texting or making phone calls while you drive has negative effects on your reaction time, lane keeping, car-following ability and speed control. Keeping your phone out of immediate reach can help reduce the risk of getting distracted by it while you drive.

2. Keep the snacks for later

One under-identified distraction is eating or drinking while driving. While a seemingly innocent act, those who eat or drink while operating a vehicle are putting themselves and other drivers on the road at risk. Spilling a cup of hot coffee on yourself while trying to navigate a road bend or trying to pick up your fallen your pack of chips from the floor of your car can be very distracting while driving. Imagine what could happen in that split second you’re trying to sort it out and take your eyes off the road. Scary right? Next time you feel peckish, think twice before picking up that snack as you drive.

3. Tune down the music volume


While it’s well known that using your mobile phone while driving is a recipe for disaster, music and the way you listen to it may also have a hazardous influence on your driving. It’s not just fiddling with the volume or trying to skip a song that can divert your attention away from the road. The music itself can interfere with your ability to stay focused on driving. Loud music has been discovered to slow down the brain's reaction time as your brain tends to devote more of its attention to the words, rhythm and sounds coming from the speakers than to your surroundings. Turn down the volume enough so you don’t struggle to hear the honks of emerging vehicles and the sounds of your car's engine and transmission.

4. Talk but don’t look away

Driving with passengers on board can also be very distracting, especially when the passenger(s) include family, friends or that attractive stranger you offer a lift. There’s every temptation to look away from the road as you converse so you can better appreciate their company but don't! If you must engage passengers, do so verbally, not visually. It’s also difficult to resist temptation to gawk at off-road drama but your parents’ advice to “keep your eyes on the wheel” at all times should carry through your adulthood.

5. Stay awake and aware


When you’re driving alone, it’s easy to decide to kick back and relax since you’re probably tired from a hectic day or dealing with traffic and taking your mind off reality can prove useful to ease the stress of driving to recharge your creative energies but the moment you drift off mentally, you become a driving hazard. Pin your thoughts to the task at hand. Also, if you’re too tired or too sleepy, don’t get behind the wheel. Driving doing so while driving can be fatal, so your best bet would be to find an alternative means of transport for the moment.

Driving is a great privilege, but with that privilege also comes responsibility. In the fast-paced, multitasking world that we all live in, driving distraction-free can be difficult, but it is possible! Take the pledge against distracted driving today, and begin to live and drive in a safer world.

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