Whether you are driving home from work or going on a special trip, the most important part of driving is reaching your destination safely. Here are five easy tips to help you avoid distracted driving:
- Be Prepared. Before leaving the driveway, make sure everything is in order. Familiarize yourself with all the controls of the car, plan the route to your destination; if applicable, enter that destination to your navigation system before you begin driving, and make sure your favorite soundtrack is ready to go.
- Focus on Driving. While we often feel we can multi-task, it only takes a single glance away for an accident to occur. Do not eat, apply makeup, read maps, or use an electronic device while on the road. Enlist the help of any passengers to complete such tasks as checking the GPS or phone for you. Remember: texting/using your phone while driving is illegal in many states.
- Secure Everything. It may not seem distracting, but things rolling and moving about often prompt us to look away from the road. Make sure everyone is buckled up properly, pets are secured, and the floor of the car is clean.
- Pull Over. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we feel drowsy or distracted when driving. No matter the reason, don’t be ashamed to pull over. It’s easier to tend to screaming children or a sudden mess when the car is stopped. You can also close your eyes for a moment or call someone to help you finish the drive if you feel tired.
- Clear Your Mind. Distractions often arise because our mind or attention is on something else. If you’re upset, stressed, or angry, take a few breaths before driving. Driving requires our full attention, and if you are mentally or emotionally frenzied you may not make the best decisions.
No matter what your driving habits have been in the past, it is never too late or too early to start following these tips to avoid driving while distracted. When in doubt, if you feel like something takes your mind off the road, it is likely a distraction.