Driving is a serious responsibility that demands and deserves your full attention. Driver distractions may occur anytime, anywhere. A distraction is anything that takes your attention away from driving, such as:
- A billboard
- The passengers in your car
- Choosing a CD or tape.
A highway patrol study found that the leading factors causing distracted driving accidents are:
- Cell phone use
- Attending to children
Reminder: Driving safely is always more important than using or answering your cell phone. While it’s hard to imagine life without a cell phone, you increase the risk of having an accident by 400 percent every time you use your cell phone when driving. Your focus on driving is diverted when you enter a number or get involved in a conversation. Doing other tasks while talking on the cell phone, such as note-taking or searching for something, increases your risk of having an accident. If you are on the freeway, take the next exit and park in a safe location before you use your cell phone.
Children Reminder: Be sure your children are properly and safely buckled up, and give them distractions—books, games, or other items—to occupy their time. Avoid arguments and other disturbing conversations while driving. Pets can be unpredictable. Properly secure them in a pet carrier or portable kennel before moving your vehicle.
Eating Reminder: Eating while driving is not only messy, but dangerous. It usually involves driving with one hand and juggling your food or beverage with the other. Leave a little early to allow yourself time to stop for a bite to eat. Pull over to a safe location and enjoy your meal.
The urge to get a good look at an accident, a vehicle pulled over by law enforcement, construction work, a billboard advertisement, a scenic view, or to look for an address—is just human nature. The best advice: Don’t look! Those things are never more important than focusing on your driving. Diverting your concentration from driving can be deadly.
Among the most commonly recognized distractions are:
- Adjusting non-essential controls (such as radio)
- Objects, incidents or people outside the vehicle
- Illness, grief, stress or an argument – be aware of these
- Leaning to retrieve a dropped object, or looking for documents
- Reading, or looking at a map
- Young drivers, specifically, the distractions created by having young passengers;
- Cell phones – hand-held, or hands-free
Do not allow these distractions to get the best of you. Keeping a clear head and being focused on your driving habits and the habits of others will make you a better driver. Remember these few words. Stay focused. Pay attention. Expect the unexpected.
Follow these simple tips to help you stay safe:
- Follow the safety tips located in the brochure.
- Properly buckle up everyone.
- Be well-rested.
- Do not tailgate.
- Allow sufficient time to reach your destination.
- Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained.