1. Set Your Phone to Drive Mode or Do Not Disturb
Cell phone use is one of the top culprits behind distracted driving accidents. Texting, surfing social media, snapping a picture – whatever it may be, behind the wheel is not the place to do it.
Most phones on the market today will recognize when you are driving in a moving vehicle and switch over to driving mode to help you avoid distraction. This mode will send automatic replies to text messages.
Some vehicle makes and models have done their part to help decrease distracted driving by equipping the vehicle with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. These are free apps you can download on your phone that integrate with your vehicle’s screen to access a few common apps in a less distracting way. You can manage your gps and music, make phone calls, and listen/respond to text messages via voice. Click here to learn more about these life-saving applications.
2. Make Adjustments Before You Leave
The less multitasking you have to do behind the wheel, the better. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound systems before hitting the road.
Plan your route ahead of time, assessing traffic conditions prior to your trip.
3. If You’re Drowsy, Pull Off of the Road
Drowsiness is in fact a form of distracted driving. Driving drowsy increases the risk of a crash by nearly four times. If you feel tired, get off of the road; don’t try to get home faster.
Pull over and roll down your window, step out of the car and stretch, or rest your eyes for 10-15 minutes. Whatever it takes to gain your energy back, you should never drive drowsy.
4. Avoid Eating While Driving
Sometimes time constraints might force you to have breakfast on your drive, but eating while driving can be very dangerous – especially if your breakfast takes a hand off of the wheel. If you must eat in the car, snack smart, avoiding messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
5. Store Loose Gear
Keep your floors clear of possessions and other distractions that could roll around while driving so you don’t feel tempted to reach for them on the floor or the seat.
Anything and everything that takes your full attention off of driving is considered a distraction. Take care of these tasks before or after your trip, not behind the wheel.